SBF Pleads Not Guilty to Additional Charges, Including Bribing Chinese Government Official

UTC by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
SBF Pleads Not Guilty to Additional Charges, Including Bribing Chinese Government Official
Photo: Shutterstock

On Thursday, embattled ex-FTX CEO SBF pled not guilty to the latest federal charges, which he also does not acknowledge. 

Disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) recently pled not guilty to five additional federal fraud and bribery charges. SBF appeared in a New York federal court on Thursday to plead not guilty to the latest charges related to FTX’s collapse.

In a superseding indictment Tuesday, the Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York revealed the criminal charges. In its third round of charges against Bankman-Fried, the US Attorney’s Office alleged that SBF bribed a foreign government. However, the former FTX boss’ lawyer Mark Cohen plans to file a motion that sees his client not tried on all the counts. According to SBF’s legal team, although the ex-FTX CEO pleaded not guilty, he did not acknowledge the latest charges. This is because persons extradited under the US-Bahamas treaty can only face trial for the charges leading to their extradition. Therefore, “we will be challenging the new charges when motions are filed,” a Bankman-Fried spokesperson said.

Closer Look into Latest Charges that SBF Pled Not Guilty For

The latest charge claimed that SBF transferred no less than $40 million in crypto to a Chinese government official. According to prosecutors, this kickback facilitated transactions related to Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund Alameda Research. Part of this facilitation includes unfreezing the FTX sister company’s trading accounts.

Prosecutors added that SBF and his associates had tried several methods to unfreeze the accounts, which held $1 billion in crypto. The alleged bribe came after the former FTX boss failed in both legal and personal efforts to access the account.

After successfully unfreezing the assets, prosecutors alleged that Alameda continued to defraud investors for another year by funding loss-generating trades with it.

In addition to the alleged bribes, other new charges include conspiracy counts related to wire and securities fraud. Prosecutors also accused SBF of running an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and unlawfully contributing to politicians in the US.

SBF, who appeared in court looking extremely disorderly, pleaded not guilty to 8 other criminal charges in early January. All charges were also related to the sudden and dramatic collapses of FTX and Alameda Research last November. They include money laundering conspiracy, misuse of customers’ funds, and wire fraud.

Although SBF denied any wrongdoing then, his associates Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang pled guilty to charges levied against them. Both Ellison and Wang entered plea bargains and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for lighter sentences. In addition, the duo agreed to forfeit large amounts of funds as punitive measures.

SBF Trial Set for October

SBF’s trial begins on October 2nd this year. If convicted, Bankman-Fried could spend up to 115 years in federal prison. The once-celebrated crypto wunderkind has been on bail since his extradition to the US from the Bahamas in late December 2022.

Bankman-Fried remains holed up at his parent’s home in California and is prohibited from using smartphones with internet access.

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