Following his appearance in a Manhattan Federal Court to face fraud charges connected to the collapse of FTX and Alameda Research, Sam Bankman-Fried was freed on a large recognizance bond.
Late on December 21, the bankrupt crypto king was deported from the Bahamas to the United States. He appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday but did not enter a plea. His next court appearance is scheduled for January 3.
According to several media reports, Bankman-Fried was released when his parents, both law professors at Stanford, signed a $250 million bail with their home in California as collateral. Two other friends with significant assets also signed bail, according to statements.
This type of bail does not require full prepayment, but it will go into effect if the defendant misses a court hearing or goes out of town.
Bankman-Fried will be required to wear an ankle bracelet to track his location throughout the pretrial phase, which may be delayed by the scope and complexity of the FTX collapse.
How It Started
On November 6, Changpeng Zhao, a competitor of Bankman-Fried and the founder of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange, said that his organization would liquidate its holdings of FTT, the crypto currency generated by FTX. Zhao stated that he also doubted Alameda’s balance sheet.
The news, which was published on Twitter, caused a rush on FTX by consumers seeking to withdraw assets in the form of cryptocurrency. On November 7, SBF stated that the assets were “fine,” but it was too late.
On November 8, he declared that he and Zhao had reached an agreement to sell his empire. The next day, Zhao changed his decision and abandoned the deal since FTX and Alameda’s financial status was worse than predicted.
Bankman-Fried attempted to locate another savior but, on November 11, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He quit and was replaced by John Ray, the liquidator of the Enron energy brokerage.
Since then, there have been surprising discoveries about the Bankman-Fried regime, which have been piling up from Ray and notably from regulators who are attempting to figure out what caused FTX’s bankruptcy in a matter of days, even though it was still valued at $32 billion in February.
On Dec. 13, the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, filed criminal and civil charges against the former FTX king.
According to the indictment announced on Dec. 13, prosecutors from the Justice Department filed eight criminal charges against Bankman-Fried.
The SEC alleges in its civil complaint that Bankman-Fried orchestrated a major multi-year fraud, diverting billions of dollars from the trading platform’s customers’ funds for his personal funds and using it to grow his crypto business.
How Case Is Moving Now
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a prerecorded message that his investigation is very much ongoing. The case started to move quickly because lawyers of the Justice Department moved to extradite Bankman-Fried after two of his friends and associates pleaded guilty to several federal fraud crimes and promised to cooperate with prosecutors.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Zixiao (Gary) Wang, 29, former FTX co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Caroline Ellison, 28, former CEO of Alameda Research, the hedge fund formed by Bankman-Fried, pled guilty on December 19.
Federal prosecutors are still pressuring other FTX and Alameda Research workers to turn against their former boss.
In his communication to them, Williams stated that if they were involved in misbehavior at FTX or Alameda, now is the chance to get ahead of it. They (he and his team) are moving fast, and their patience is limited.