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Ex-FTX boss freed on $250 million bond

His fortune has, he assures, evaporated, but Sam Bankman-Fried can count on mom and dad. A New York federal judge agreed Thursday to release the founder and former boss of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX, rewards a monster bail of 250 million dollars. “SBF” of his name, claims to have less than 100,000 dollars in his bank account, but his parents have, according to the New York Timesin particular used as a bank guarantee their Californian house in Palo Alto where he will be granted residence pending his trial.

The most famous figure in the cryptocurrency world walked free from federal court in Manhattan at midday. Charged in particular for fraud and criminal association“SBF” – his nickname – had been extradited Wednesday evening from the Bahamaswhere FTX is headquartered, after giving up contesting its handover to US authorities.

A fortune of 26 billion dollars soaring

At the end of November, the central figure in the biggest scandal in the history of cryptocurrencies claimed to be ruined. A peak sound, at the beginning of the year, his fortune was estimated at 26 billion dollars, entirely based on the shares of his companies, which have since gone bankrupt.

The magistrate authorized the release of the accused of 30 years because he presents, according to him, a “minimal” risk of absconding and has never been convicted. Known for his dark t-shirts and shorts, “SBF” showed up to the hearing in a gray suit and tie.

Sam Bankman-Fried is alleged to have used, along with collaborators, funds deposited on the platform by FTX clients to conduct speculative financial transactions with his other company, the Alameda Research fund.

In addition to risky transactions via Alameda, he is also suspected of having invested part of this money in real estate in the Bahamas and of having made donations to Democratic politicians – always with funds from FTX clients – including Joe Biden during his presidential campaign. Five of the eight counts brought against him each carry a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. The one who has long been seen as an iconoclastic genius of cryptocurrencies is therefore likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Relatives collaborate

The Manhattan federal prosecutor revealed Wednesday that two other key figures in the case had recently been charged with fraud and criminal association. The latter pleaded guilty and collaborated with the government, which means that they could incriminate Sam Bankman-Fried.

They are Caroline Ellison, former boss of Alameda Research – and ex-girlfriend of SBF – and Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, charged “in connection with their role in the fraud which was sentenced to the “collapse of FTX,” said Damian Williams, without giving further details.

Since November 11, the bankruptcy of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried has repeatedly argued publicly that he was no longer at the helm of Alameda Research for several months, incriminating Caroline Ellison. An argument disputed by the public prosecutor, who claims that “SBF” remained the main decision-maker within Alameda until FTX filed for bankruptcy.

“If you have been involved in any offenses at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to come forward,” Damian Williams warned Wednesday, encouraging other alumni of both companies to work with the prosecution. “We are moving quickly and our patience is not eternal. »

Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang have also been named before the civil courts by the two main American financial market regulators, the SEC and the CFTC. They pledged to cooperate with the SEC, and acknowledged the facts attributed to them by the CFTC, which should earn them, in both cases, a more lenient judgment. The CFTC has released $8 billion in total funds misappropriated from FTX client accounts.

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