Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as “SBF,” is accused of misusing over $100 million from FTX users for political donations to both major US parties, aiming to sway cryptocurrency regulations. A fresh indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office states that the former FTX CEO made these donations to gain leverage and lobby for legislative changes favoring FTX’s growth. This would then allegedly enable the ongoing misappropriation of funds.
The recent filing revealed that SBF has been charged with counts similar to what he initially faced after his return from the Bahamas in 2022. During a legal tussle, his defense claimed that he shouldn’t be charged for breaking campaign finance laws since it wasn’t part of his extradition agreement. However, prosecutors intend to use this alleged violation as evidence of wire fraud.
The indictment also claims that SBF hid the origin of the funds by attributing them to certain FTX higher-ups, like former engineering director Nishad Singh. This method was supposedly used to bypass limits on political contributions, maximizing FTX’s influence on policy-making.
Before FTX’s downfall in November 2022, SBF expressed intentions of donating significant amounts to political campaigns ahead of the 2024 elections. He previously made a donation exceeding $5 million to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign and asserted contributions to both major political parties.
This recent indictment adds to the string of charges against SBF since his extradition in December 2022. Initial charges included eight counts related to FTX fraud, which later increased with subsequent indictments, the most recent of which accused him of bribing a Chinese official.
After being out on bail, Judge Lewis Kaplan ordered his detention on August 11 due to concerns about potential witness interference. SBF’s trials are set for October 2023 and March 2024.