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Sam Bankman-Fried accused of $40m Chinese bribe

Sam Bankman-Fried - Mid Journey portrait.

The founder of failed crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, is facing new charges over allegations he authorised a bribe of “at least $40 million” in cryptocurrency to “one or more” Chinese officials, according to reports. 

Bankman-Fried is already facing 12 counts of fraud, conspiracy and trying to evade US campaign financing laws over the collapse of his company last year. 

He has pleaded not guilty to eight of the charges so far, and is on bail at his parent’s home. He is due to face trial in October. 

In the new indictment, US federal prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried agreed to pay the bribe to regain access to accounts belonging to his trading firm, Alameda Research, CNN reports. 

Bankman-Fried believed the accounts, which held more than $1 billion in digital assets, had been frozen as part of an investigation into another company, the BBC reports.

The Alameda accounts were released once the payment had been transferred, into a private cryptocurrency wallet, CNN said. 

“In or about November 2021, Samuel Bankman-Fried, a/k/a ‘SBF,’ the defendant, and others directed and caused the transfer of at least approximately $40 million in cryptocurrency intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese officials in order to influence and induce them to unfreeze the Accounts,” the indictment reads.

*Note that the portrait image heading this article is AI-generated, based on Sam Bankman-Fried’s likeness (Polemos/MidJourney)

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Polemos staff

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