FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried tried to bribe Chinese officials, prosecutors say

New York (CNN) Federal prosecutors have filed a 13th-count criminal indictment against Sam Bankman-Fried, accusing the FTX co-founder of paying $40 million in bribes to “one or more” Chinese government officials.

The new indictment was unsealed Tuesday by New York’s Southern District Court.

Bankman-Fried, who is out on $250 million bond, has already pleaded not guilty to eight criminal fraud and conspiracy counts and has yet to be charged with five others.

A hearing on the bail petition is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.

A spokeswoman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.

In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried attempted to pay Chinese officials in an attempt to freeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research. Accounts frozen by the Chinese government in a crackdown on cryptocurrencies held more than $1 billion in digital assets, prosecutors say.

According to the indictment, the accounts were released after money was transferred from Alameda’s main trading account to a private cryptocurrency wallet.

The charges against Bankman-Fried stem from what one of the prosecutors mentioned Massive financial scams in American history. They say Bankman-Fried orchestrated a massive fraud, stole deposits from his cryptocurrency exchange FTX, financed risky bets at his hedge fund, made contributions to US politicians and booked a lavish lifestyle for himself and his employees in the Bahamas.

FTX was one of the busiest and largest platforms for trading digital assets before it went bankrupt in November.

Bankman-Fried, 31, admitted to mishandling her business but denied fraud.

Three of Bankman-Fried’s former business partners — Gary Wang, Carolyn Ellison and Nishad Singh — They have confessed to the crime Multiple charges and cooperating with investigators.

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If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 155 years in prison. A hearing is scheduled for October.

Bankman-Fried is under house arrest at her parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, where her movements are heavily restricted.

Bail terms changed

On Tuesday, Judge Louis A. Kaplan approved a modification in Bankman-Fried’s bail terms. Concerns about him using a virtual private network.

Under the new conditions, Bankman-Fried will only be allowed to use a VPN for the purpose of accessing a database to help prepare his defense through a laptop provided by his lawyers.

Bankman-Fried can use the special laptop only when accompanied by an attorney or paralegal from her defense team’s firm. The man “would stay with Mr. Bankman-Fried while he was using the laptop and would return the laptop and remove it from the apartment when he was finished,” Kaplan wrote.

— CNN Cara Scannell contributed reporting.

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