Access to evidence might delay criminal trial of FTX founder, Sam Bankman-Fried

The lawyers defending the founder of Futures Exchange (FTX), Sam Bankman-Fried, have hinted that the trial of the former billionaire might be delayed due to access to evidence against him.

In a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, Bankman-Fried’s counsel, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, said the volume of the additional discovery and the timing of the productions will determine if the trial slated for October 2023 will hold.

“Depending on the volume of the additional discovery and the timing of the productions, it may be necessary to request an adjournment of the trial, currently scheduled to begin on October 2, 2023,” The Block quoted the attorneys on Thursday.Read more

Ripples Nigeria previously reported that Bankman-Fried was arrested and charged for fraud by the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Bankman-Fried was accused of using the funds obtained from FTX customers’ wallet through his firm, Alameda Research Unlimited, to acquire real estate properties.

He also allegedly made undisclosed venture investments, as well as making large political donations of $39.9 million, with the presidential campaign of the current U.S. president, Joe Biden, benefiting $5.2 million.

According to the U.S SEC, Bankman-Fried fraudulently raised $1.8 billion from global investors since May 2019 before FTX crashed and filed for bankruptcy in November 2022.

Alameda Research Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Ellison, and the co-founder of FTX, Gary Wang, were also charged and pleaded guilty, putting Bankman-Fried in a tight corner.

READ ALSO:FTX’s Bankman-Fried loses $450m legal defense funds

Ellison’s iPhone and Wang’s laptop are part of the discovery or evidence being used to investigate Bankman-Fried. They will also be made available for his lawyers.

He is currently under house arrest and restricted from internet, virtual private network (VPN) and computer usage as part of his bail terms, which cost him $250 million bond.

Bankman-Fried, who is scheduled for a bail term hearing on Friday, had used his access to internet while still under house arrest to contact a possible witness in his criminal case.

The former FTX CEO was reported to have used an encrypted app and a virtual private network despite claiming it was for watching the Super Bowl.

As a result, tighter bail terms are being requested, which will make producing a computer for him to access discovery in the criminal case.

“The defense has built a custom laptop with the security protocols required by the FTX debtors and has been ready to send it to Mr. Bankman-Fried for some time,” the lawyers of BMF, as Bankman-Fried is fondly called prior to his arrest, said.

The counsels added, “It may take some time before a new laptop computer can be built according to the specifications that the court may impose.”

They also informed the judge in the letter that, “Accordingly, we respectfully request that the court order that, in the interim, Mr. Bankman-Fried may use the laptop computer that has already been built, which will be configured to allow him to access the AWS Database, and no other websites, via a secure VPN connection.”

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