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Crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried enters not-guilty pleas to latest charges

Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried arrives for arraignment proceedings at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on January 3. He entered not-guilty pleas to a new round of charges on Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried arrives for arraignment proceedings at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on January 3. He entered not-guilty pleas to a new round of charges on Thursday. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- Troubled digital currency executive Sam Bankman-Fried on Thursday entered a not-guilty plea to five additional charges related to the collapse of his former crypto exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research.

The new charges in New York federal court are part of a third round of counts from a superseding indictment that was unsealed on Tuesday in the Southern District of New York. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried directed the payment of at least $40 million in cryptocurrency to one or more Chinese government officials to unfreeze trading accounts tied to Alameda Research.

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The disgraced billionaire already had entered not-guilty pleas in charges connected to bank fraud, operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business, and making unlawful political contributions.

Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried's attorney, said his client was challenging the charges and the government's right to bring some of the counts against him. Prosecutors can be limited at times in bringing more charges after a defendant is transferred to the United States after the original indictment has been filed.

Bankman-Fried was extradited to the United States from FTX's home base in the Bahamas.

Bankman-Fried initially was 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.

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Last month, prosecutors filed 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.

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