Sam Bankman-Fried’s Prosecutors Ask Judge to Tighten Bail Conditions

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said on Friday that the disgraced cryptocurrency executive Sam Bankman-Fried experienced tried out to call a possible witness in his legal case, and they requested a decide to impose new bail conditions limiting his skill to connect with former colleagues.

In a court filing, the U.S. attorney’s place of work for the Southern District of New York claimed Mr. Bankman-Fried sent messages in excess of electronic mail and the encrypted messaging app Signal this thirty day period to the typical counsel of the U.S. arm of FTX, the cryptocurrency trade he started. Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, has been billed with fraud, income laundering and marketing campaign finance violations linked to the implosion of FTX very last calendar year.

The interaction was “suggestive of an exertion to affect Witness-1’s likely testimony,” the filing reported. “This is particularly about specified that the defendant is informed that Witness-1 has information and facts that would are inclined to inculpate the defendant.”

Prosecutors questioned Decide Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing Mr. Bankman-Fried’s circumstance, to prohibit the entrepreneur from getting in contact with present and previous FTX employees or working with Sign or other encrypted apps to communicate.

A spokesman for Mr. Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to a ask for for remark.

Mr. Bankman-Fried crafted FTX into just one of the most significant cryptocurrency exchanges in the world just before the enterprise submitted for personal bankruptcy in November. He was arrested in December at his dwelling in the Bahamas, the place FTX was based, and then extradited to the United States to deal with the prison rates. Judge Kaplan granted him bail less than very restrictive conditions, confining him to his parents’ residence near the campus of Stanford College in Northern California.

Mr. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

From his home confinement, Mr. Bankman-Fried has entertained people, like the writer Michael Lewis, who is crafting a ebook about him. He has also started off mounting a defense, producing posts on Substack that depth his edition of the activities major up to FTX’s collapse.

In accordance to Friday’s submitting, Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote to the general counsel of FTX U.S. on Jan. 15, saying he would “really like to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive romance, use just about every other as assets when possible, or at least vet factors with each other.”

Prosecutors said the witness “has firsthand knowledge of the defendant’s conduct for the duration of the billed conspiracies” and participated in communications on Sign and the messaging method Slack with a smaller team of insiders the month that FTX collapsed. Mr. Bankman-Fried has also contacted other recent and former FTX workers, in accordance to the submitting.

The document does not identify the witness by name. The general counsel of FTX U.S. is Ryne Miller, according to his LinkedIn web page.

For a great deal of his tenure at FTX, Mr. Bankman-Fried relied on Sign, which offers people the option to routinely delete messages. In accordance to prosecutors, he also directed workers of FTX and Alameda Investigation, a hedge fund he launched, to established their communications to instantly disappear following 30 times or a lot less.

“The autodeletion of FTX and Alameda’s Slack and Signal communications has impeded the government’s investigation,” the filing mentioned. “Potential witnesses have explained suitable and incriminating conversations with the defendant that took place on Slack and Sign that have previously been autodeleted.”

In the courtroom submitting, prosecutors stated Mr. Bankman-Fried’s use of Sign could hinder their attempts to figure out no matter whether he attempted to get hold of a lot more opportunity witnesses for the duration of his confinement.

“The proposed bail circumstances in combination would more effectively protect against the defendant from obstructing justice,” the filing reported.