Former head of cryptocurrency platform FTX Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty on Thursday to five new charges brought against him by a federal judge in Manhattan, including corruption.
In January, Bankman-Fried, also known as “SBF”, had already pleaded “not guilty” to eight other charges, mainly related to the fraud he is accused of in relation to the management of FTX.
Bankman-Fried and other executives are accused of using FTX clients’ accounts, without their knowledge, to fuel speculative operations at Alameda, their investment firm.
Extradited from the Bahamas to the United States in December, “SBF” faces decades in prison. His trial is set to begin in October in New York.
Among the new charges added to the file by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams’ office is corruption.
US authorities say Bankman-Fried forced Chinese officials to pay at least $40 million in bribes to regain access to frozen assets.
According to the document filed Tuesday, in 2021, Bankman-Fried transferred those funds to get Chinese authorities to release more than $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies held in accounts in Alameda’s name.
FTX, once the second-largest cryptocurrency trading platform, filed for bankruptcy in November, the victim of a crisis of confidence and mass withdrawal requests from customers.
Two other former FTX and Alameda executives, Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, also accused, pleaded guilty to multiple charges and agreed to cooperate with US authorities, unlike Bankman-Fried, who denies the charges against him.
“SBF”, who once had an estimated fortune of 26 billion dollars and was seen as a possible future Warren Buffett, is also accused of having invested, without authorization, funds from FTX clients in real estate in the Bahamas.
The Manhattan federal prosecutor also accuses him of having used those same funds to make donations to Democratic political figures, in particular Joe Biden, during his presidential campaign.
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