The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced its intention to proceed with the trial of FTX founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, on eight charges initially brought against him in December 2022. Prosecutors stated their agreement to try Bankman-Fried on a limited number of charges, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. The decision comes after a court in the Bahamas blocked the local government from approving additional charges.
Bankman-Fried is currently facing a total of 13 charges, with five of them being added through superseding indictments in February and March 2023. Bankman-Fried’s defense team argued in a recent motion to dismiss that the government of the Bahamas had to approve the additional charges, which include bank fraud, operating an unlicensed money transmitter, and bribery, as Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas and later extradited to the U.S. last year.
However, a court in the Bahamas has ruled against the government’s approval of these additional charges until Bankman-Fried’s defense team has an opportunity to contest the decision. In a letter addressed to Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and his team acknowledged that the legal battle in the Bahamas may extend close to Bankman-Fried’s trial in the U.S.
The charges that are currently approved for trial against Bankman-Fried include fraud on FTX customers tied to derivatives, securities fraud against FTX investors, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitter business, and conspiracy to bribe foreign government officials.
The original charges, which have not been affected by the Bahamas court’s decision, encompass conspiracy to commit wire fraud on FTX customers, wire fraud on FTX customers, conspiracy to commit fraud on FTX customers tied to derivatives, conspiracy to commit securities fraud against FTX investors, conspiracy to commit wire fraud on lenders to Alameda Research, wire fraud on lenders to Alameda Research, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions and defraud the Federal Elections Commission.
Sam Bankman-Fried Trial Set on October
The DOJ has requested a trial date for the additional charges in the first quarter of 2024, while Bankman-Fried’s current trial is scheduled to commence in October. Sam Bankman-Fried’s defense team has filed additional motions seeking the dismissal of most of the charges based on various grounds. However, the DOJ has opposed these arguments. A hearing for oral arguments on the motions to dismiss is set for 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday.
In a separate letter filed by prosecutors, they addressed the claims made by Sam Bankman-Fried’s team regarding the alleged failure of the DOJ to provide all the requested discovery materials. The DOJ stated that it believes it has provided most of the discovery materials, but encountered delays due to various reasons, including technical issues.
Note: This article is based on information available as of June 15, 2023, and is subject to updates and developments in the legal proceedings against Sam Bankman-Fried.