Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-defunct cryptocurrency firm FTX, has been accused of authorizing a bribe of “at least $40m” in order to gain access to frozen trading accounts.
These allegations were unveiled in the US in addition to the fraud case filed against Bankman-Fried last year after FTX’s collapse. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the claims, but is currently under house arrest at his parents’ home in California while awaiting trial.
Bankman-Fried authorised the bribe after Chinese authorities froze accounts holding roughly $1bn worth of cryptocurrency that belonged to his trading firm, Alameda Research.
The accounts were released after the transfer, which went to a private cryptocurrency wallet controlled by Bankman-Fried, according to the filing.
The Bankman-Fried family has been struggling for months to access their frozen funds. This all started before FTX’s dramatic collapse last year, when reports about the company’s finances led to a rush of withdrawals, pushing the firm into bankruptcy. Just when they thought things couldn’t get any worse, the Bankman-Fried family allegedly bribed an employee of the frozen funds to gain access to their money.
In the aftermath of the collapse, Bankman-Fried was charged by the US government with improperly using customer deposits at FTX to fund his other firm, Alameda Research, as well as buying property and making millions in political donations. This episode cast a dark cloud over the crypto industry, which was already suffering from big falls in the values of Bitcoin and other assets.
Bankman-Fried was once a highly respected figure in the crypto world. He was the CEO of an exchange that had over 1 million users and was considered one of the world’s top three trading platforms. However, after the collapse of FTX and the subsequent charges against him, Bankman-Fried’s reputation plummeted.
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