FTX founder likely to dispute new crypto charges: lawyer

New York: A lawyer for Sam Bankman-Fried reported on Thursday that the former cryptocurrency darling is challenging the validity of new charges added to an indictment after he agreed to be brought to the United States in December since the Bahamas rather than fighting extradition. Attorney Mark Cohen told a judge in Manhattan federal court that his 31-year-old client, founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded not guilty to new charges brought against him in recent weeks in what a prosecutor called it one of the biggest frauds in American history.

But Cohen was quick to add that while he pleaded not guilty to the new charges, Bankman-Fried did not acknowledge he could stand trial. He did not elaborate and left the courthouse quickly just before his client was led to a waiting vehicle.

Earlier this week, a rewritten indictment charged Bankman-Fried with a new conspiracy count, alleging he violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s anti-bribery provisions. by ordering the payment of $40 million in bribes to one or more Chinese officials to release $1 billion in cryptocurrency that was frozen in early 2021.

FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11, when the global stock market ran out of money after the equivalent of a bank run. He remained free thanks to a $250 million personal bond that requires him to stay with his parents in Palo Alto, California. His trial is tentatively expected to begin in the fall.

Bankman-Fried previously pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he defrauded billions of dollars from investors before his company collapsed.

In late February, a rewritten indictment brought new fraud charges against him and increased the maximum prison sentence he could face if convicted from 115 years to 155 years.

His not guilty plea entered Thursday by Cohen also applied to these new charges.


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