SBF allegedly paid a $40 million bribe to Chinese officials

Category: Asia Crypto Regulatory

Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly directed Alameda employees to transfer millions in cryptocurrencies to Chinese government authorities to unfreeze accounts in 2021

Disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been accused of bribing these Chinese officials when attempting to unfreeze specific Alameda accounts.

In an indictment revealed on Tuesday, US prosecutors alleged that SBF bribed Chinese officials with a $40 million crypto payment in November 2021.

The bribe was sorted out after Chinese authorities froze Alameda trading accounts on two of the biggest exchanges in the country. The accounts collectively held $1 billion worth of digital assets, and were frozen as part of an ongoing investigation into one of Alameda’s counterparties.

After a number of unsuccessful attempts to bring the accounts back online, Bankman-Fried instructed Alameda employees to bribe Chinese officials with a portion of the funds. When the accounts were unfrozen, SBF authorised the remainder of funds (tens of millions of dollars) to complete the bribe, said prosecutors.

The bribery charge disclosed on Tuesday brings the total number of charges against Scam Bankman-Fried to a total of 13, of which he has yet to be prosecuted on five accounts.

In a letter to the federal district court judge, a grand jury said:

“The Government therefore requests a pretrial conference in order to arraign the defendant on the S5 Indictment and to resolve the outstanding issues pertaining to the defendant’s conditions of release.”

In the unsealed indictment, a new set of bail restrictions focusing on his usage on electronic devices and encrypted messaging services were also imposed.

Bankman’s internet access has been limited to pre-approved websites on an assigned laptop. Security software (spyware) blocks USB storage device access and user activity is being tracked by keyloggers and monitored by his legal counsel.

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