FTX crypto-exchange founder Samuel Bankman-Fried was charged Tuesday in a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York with 31 counts, including conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.
Bankman-Fried, sometimes referred to as SBF, allegedly authorized and directed a bribe of around $40 million in cryptocurrency to Chinese government officials in November 2021.
The payments were intended to influence the officials to unfreeze accounts worth over $1 billion in cryptocurrency belonging to SBF, Alameda Research (FTX’s hedge fund), and others, according to the indictment.
After SBF authorized the bribe, an Alameda employee sent cryptocurrency payment instructions for at least a portion of the bribe to other Alameda employees, including at least one located in the United States, the DOJ said.
Other charges include conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and securities fraud on FTX investors.
The indictment accuses SBF of stealing and misdirecting billions of dollars from users and defrauding investors by diverting funds from FTX to other accounts at Alameda, which he also allegedly controlled.
Bankman-Fried used this money to fund venture investments, make charitable contributions, and enrich himself, according to the DOJ.
The SEC has also filed charges against SBF for alleged securities fraud.
Bankman-Fried founded cryptocurrency exchange FTX and served as CEO until its bankruptcy on November 11, 2022. He was arrested in the Bahamas a month later and extradited to the United States on December 22.
In February, a federal judge released SBF before trial on a $250 million recognizance bond.
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