Sam Bankman-Fried battles for the right to transfer company’s cryptocurrency
Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal team asserts that he should grant access to assets and cryptocurrency retained by his former company, FTX. They claim there is no evidence linking him to previous alleged unauthorized transactions.
Bankman-Fried, who stepped down as FTX’s CEO in November 2022 when the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy, is currently facing charges of wire fraud and money laundering and has entered a plea of not guilty.
Because of his bail conditions, Bankman-Fried is prohibited from accessing the cryptocurrency held by FTX and its trading arm, Alameda Research, due to illicit transfers made from Alameda wallets. This prohibition includes crypto purchased with FTX or Alameda funds.
It has been almost three weeks since the pretrial conference. According to Mark Cohen, the lawyer representing Mr. Bankman-Fried, the government’s investigation has proven that his client did not access or transfer the assets in question.
Cohen has requested that the bail condition imposed at the conference be lifted, as the sole basis for seeking it has been disproved. In a recent filing, the U.S. Department of Justice has called for an additional bail condition, a communications ban, citing that Mr. Bankman-Fried had attempted to contact FTX’s General Counsel Ryne Miller and a potential witness in the case.
According to Cohen, while generally concurring with the restriction, Bankman-Fried should still be permitted access to certain ex-employees, including his therapist George Lerner. He argues that requiring Bankman-Fried to involve counsel in all communications with former or current FTX employees would be unnecessarily burdensome and inhibit his ability to mount a proper defense.
Cohen emphasizes that many of these individuals are personal friends of Bankman-Fried and that a blanket ban on contact with them would deprive him of valuable emotional support. Additionally, Cohen claims that Bankman-Fried reached out to both Miller and the new CEO of FTX, John Ray, offering his assistance, but these messages were not acknowledged.