Rather than reinstating a count on campaign finance violations to SBF’s indictment, the Justice Department said it will consider the evidence as part of a wire fraud charge.
The United States Attorneys’ Office has announced another superseding indictment against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as “SBF,” which will include consideration of an allegedly illegal campaign finance scheme.
In an Aug. 8 letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said the Department of Justice (DoJ) plans to pursue seven charges against SBF in its trial scheduled to begin in October. Though the DoJ said it was “prevented by its treaty obligations to the Bahamas” from adding an eighth count to SBF’s indictment on violations of campaign finance law, prosecutors would consider evidence of the alleged scheme as part of an existing wire fraud charge.
“The superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme as part of the fraud and money laundering schemes originally charged,” said Williams. “The defendant’s use of customer deposits to conduct a political influence campaign was part of the wire fraud scheme charged in the original indictment. And as part of the originally charged money laundering scheme, the defendant also concealed the source of his fraudulent proceeds through political straw donations.”
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December 2022 and later extradited to the U.S. to face charges related to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX. DoJ officials originally announced eight charges against the former FTX CEO, then added another five in separate superseding indictments in February and March 2023.
The charge involving illegal campaign donations — part of the original eight — was dropped in July after prosecutors agreed with a defense motion that it was not a part of the extradition agreement with the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried’s first trial with the seven charges will begin in October 2023, while a second trial with five charges from the superseding indictments is scheduled to start in March 2024.
Since his arraignment, Bankman-Fried has largely been confined to his parents’ California home on a $250 million bond. However, prosecutors are seeking to revoke his bail after he spoke to New York Times reporters and provided details of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison’s private journals in an alleged attempt to intimidate her. Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s former colleague and girlfriend, will be a witness at his October trial.
A hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 11 in which Kaplan will hear arguments regarding the U.S. government’s motion to revoke SBF’s bail.