Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried was accused Tuesday of paying bribes to a Chinese government official. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
March 28 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors added another charge against FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried on Tuesday, accusing him of paying tens of millions of dollars worth of bribes to a Chinese government official.
The indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried transfered at least $40 million worth of cryptocurrency to at least one Chinese government official, so that they would unfreeze accounts belonging to Bankman-Fried's hedge fund, Alameda Research.
The unfrozen assets allegedly contained around $1 billion, and were then used to fund Alameda's loss-generating trades for another year, until FTX and Alameda collapsed in November.
Bankman-Fried was initially indicted on eight charges including fraud, money laundering and campaign finance law violations. In December, he agreed to be extradited from the Bahamas to the United States. He pleaded not guilty to the original charges on Jan. 3.
In February he was hit with a new indictment alleging securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and illegal campaign contributions. Bankman-Fried and his co-conspirators allegedly made tens of millions of dollars of campaign contributions using a straw donor or corporate funds.
"To avoid certain contributions being publicly reported in his name, Bankman-Fried conspired to and did have certain political contributions made in the names of two other FTX executives," the new filing said.
From 2020 until November 2022, Bankman-Fried allegedly donated more than $25,000 in a year to candidates in the names of others. The indictment also alleges that he created a shell company called North Dimension, "which had no employees or business operations," solely to open a bank account.
Bankman-Fried is currently free on a $250 million bond, confined to his parents' house in Palo Alto, Calif.
If convicted on all counts, he could face more than 155 years in prison. A trial has been scheduled for October.