- SBF’s attorney claims that his client did not try to influence witnesses.
- Prosecutors asked the judge to ban SBF from talking to FTX employees and using encrypted messaging apps like Signal.
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO of FTX, is denying claims that he attempted to influence witnesses in his financial fraud case.
According to court filings, prosecutors claim that SBF contacted potential witnesses to sway their testimony. On Saturday, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer vehemently denied these allegations, accusing the prosecution of misrepresentation.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney Mark Cohen asked the judge to allow his client to meet some people involved in FTX. SBF needs to participate in his defense, Cohen said.
These remarks come after the prosecution alleged that SBF tried to reach out to at least one FTX employee to try and influence his testimony.
The defense denies that characterization, saying it was “merely an innocuous attempt to offer assistance in FTX’s bankruptcy process and does not reflect misconduct that warrants the restriction the Government proposes here.”
Instead, SBF’s lawyer claims that the prosecution is spinning SBF in the “worst possible light” and ignoring the “full context” of the case.
SBF Talks to FTX Employee Over Signal
According to the prosecutors, the disgraced crypto billionaire allegedly used the encrypted messaging app Signal to reach out to one FTX employee. The prosecution claims he reached out to the current FTX’s General Counsel, Ryne Miller.
“I would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” SBF’s message to Miller wrote.
In response, the prosecutors wrote a letter to U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan on Friday, asking to update SBF’s bail conditions.
“Government respectfully requests that the Court impose the following conditions: (1) the defendant shall not contact or communicate with current or former employees of FTX or Alameda (other than immediate family members),” the letter wrote.
Moreover, they requested that “the defendant shall not use any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application, including but not limited to Signal.”
Prosecutors also claimed that Sam Bankman-Fried used the auto-delete feature of Signal and Slack to conduct business at FTX. The former FTX CEO told all employees to set their communication to autodelete after 30 days.
The new bail conditions would bar SBF from contacting former close associates at FTX and Alameda Research. These include Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, who plead guilty to fraud.
On the Flipside
- The judge did not yet decide whether to accept the request by the prosecutors.
Why You Should Care
SBF’s apparent attempts to talk to witnesses could influence the court battle over FTX’s fraud charges. The outcome of this case will have significant effects on the crypto market.