The legal saga surrounding FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried continues as new developments arise in his case. On March 27, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers reportedly reached a new bail agreement with US prosecutors that would allow him to remain at home while restricting his use of electronic devices and apps. The proposed agreement is still subject to approval by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing Bankman-Fried’s case.
The proposed bail conditions would prohibit Bankman-Fried from using a smartphone with internet access and any apps other than voice calls and text messaging. He would also be required to use a basic laptop with limited functions and monitoring software to track user activity. The use of any other electronic communication devices is forbidden. Additionally, if there is “reasonable suspicion” of a violation, Bankman-Fried must submit his devices for a search.
The need for new bail conditions arose after Judge Kaplan expressed concerns about Bankman-Fried’s access to electronic devices and the internet. In a previous hearing, the judge attempted to ban Bankman-Fried from using any electronic devices and the internet as a condition of his bail. He argued that Bankman-Fried had a “garden of electronic devices” with internet access available at his parents’ California home. Judge Kaplan also alleged that there was “probable cause” to believe that Bankman-Fried was involved in attempted witness tampering.
To address these concerns, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers proposed the new bail agreement that would limit his access to electronic devices and the internet. The agreement also includes provisions for Bankman-Fried’s parents to restrict his access to their devices and sign affidavits agreeing not to bring prohibited electronic devices into their home.
Bankman-Fried faces criminal charges of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds facilitated through Alameda Research and making large illegal political donations. He has pleaded not guilty to eight criminal counts, which could result in 115 years in prison if convicted. His trial is set for October 2, 2023.
In December 2022, Bankman-Fried was released on bail with conditions that included a $250 million bond, home detention, location monitoring, and the surrender of his passport. However, a few days later, industry investigators allegedly spotted transactions involving Bankman-Fried cashing out about $700,000 in a crypto exchange in Seychelles. Bankman-Fried has denied involvement in this or any other transactions allegedly tied to him or FTX.
Although Bankman-Fried has not been banned from Twitter, he has refrained from any social media activity for a while. His last visible activity on Twitter included a repost on Sullivan & Cromwell continuing to represent FTX debtors on January 20 and a “like” on a report that the firm billed $7.5 million for the first 19 days of FTX work.