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Bankman-Fried to Plead Not Guilty In Chinese Bribe Case: Report

 |  March 30, 2023

Sam Bankman-Fried will reportedly plead not guilty to a $40 million bribery charge.

The FTX founder had earlier pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy for allegedly overseeing the multibillion-dollar collapse of his cryptocurrency empire.

On Thursday (March 30), Bankman-Fried will plead not guilty to two new counts from unsealed indictments — the bribery charge, announced earlier this week — as well as bank fraud and campaign finance violations.

That’s according to a report by Reuters, which cites sources familiar with the matter.

Read more: Bankman-Fried Indicted Again On Chinese Bribery Charge

An indictment unsealed Tuesday (March 28) accuses Bankman-Fried, 31, of approving bribes of more than $40 million for Chinese government officials to regain access to frozen cryptocurrency accounts in 2021.

According to the indictment, those accounts contained more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency tied to Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s investment firm. The funds were seized during an investigation by the Chinese government into a “particular Alameda trading counterparty,” the new indictment said.

After paying off a Chinese official, Bankman-Fried was able to regain access to that account, the indictment alleges.

Last month, prosecutors unsealed another indictment that alleges Bankman-Fried and his companies made more than 300 political contributions — totaling in the tens of millions — to politicians of both major parties, using other FTX employee’s names.

“Bankman-Fried’s use of straw donors allowed him to evade contribution limits on individual donations to candidates to whom he had already donated,” the indictment says.

Prosecutors also accuse Bankman-Fried of bank fraud, saying he and others opened a bank account under false pretenses.

All of this adds more pressure to Bankman-Fried, who already faces decades in prison if convicted on the initial charges when he goes to trial in October.

The downfall of his company last year — amid an already rough period for the digital asset sector — continues to shake the cryptocurrency sector, which has faced increased regulatory pressure.