US authorities are preparing to charge FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried with an illegal campaign finance scheme, per court documents filed on Aug. 8.
In a twist to the legal case, the prosecutors plan to file a superseding indictment for the week of Aug. 14 to incorporate Bankman-Fried’s alleged illegal campaign finance scheme into seven other existing charges.
Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried used stolen customer funds to finance an unlawful “political influence campaign” and attempted to conceal this money through “political straw donations.”
In a statement, the prosecutors explained, “The evidence of the defendant’s campaign finance conduct is admissible at trial as direct proof of the Trial Charges.”
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The charges against Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to all accusations, including defrauding customers and lenders of FTX, stem from an alleged scheme to defraud investors, leading to a rapid collapse of FTX and a subsequent declaration of bankruptcy.
The defendant is accused of misappropriating billions of dollars from FTX. He allegedly used those to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research, and to purchase lavish real estate and make political donations.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team has previously challenged many of the charges, claiming they are flawed and contradictory, especially those related to political donations.
Initially, US prosecutors planned to file 13 charges. The number was reduced to eight after concerns were raised by the Bahamian judiciary regarding charges outside of the original extradition agreement. Five charges were subsequently dropped, and the remaining ones were deferred to March 2024.
There had been speculation that the political campaign financing charge might also be dismissed, but the latest communication from the prosecutors has confirmed that they will proceed with it.
Bankman-Fried is currently under house arrest with a $250 million bond in his parents’ Palo Alto, California home, awaiting trial.
Alameda’s former chief executive, Caroline Ellison, and former FTX executive Gary Wang, close associates of Bankman-Fried, have pleaded guilty to fraud charges and are cooperating with the investigation.
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