Sam Bankman-bail Fried’s conditions may also prohibit him from using FTX and Alameda funding with a judge set to address this issue in a hearing on February 7th.
Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions were set by a federal judge overseeing the criminal case against the former CEO of FTX. He was prohibited from communicating with any current or former exchange workers.
Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York ruled on February 1 that in order for Bankman-Fried to continue to be free on bail until his trial, he must be prohibited from speaking with any current or former FTX or Alameda Research personnel “except in the presence of counsel.”
Kaplan also in his decision said that SBF could not communicate with anyone using an encrypted messaging service like Signal, which prosecutors had said the former FTX CEO had used to contact FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller in prior papers.
“The undisputed information available to the Court regarding the ‘nature and seriousness of the danger [. . .] posed by [defendant’s continued] release’ on the existing conditions has changed substantially since he was released, and there appears to be a material threat of inappropriate contact with prospective witnesses,” said Kaplan.
“That risk, the Court finds, is clearly and convincingly sufficient to warrant the imposition of additional conditions pending the full argument of the cross-applications.”
FTX and Alameda employees’ Slack and Signal communications will be automatically deleted starting in 2021, according to Kaplan. SBF was behind this decision, he claims, and informed former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison that any potential legal case would be more challenging to establish without proper documentation. In his decision, he also mentioned Signal chats with Miller and various ways to get in touch with “other present and former FTX personnel.”
The judge has not yet determined whether SBF’s access to FTX and Alameda funds may be restricted as part of his bail requirements. In a filing on January 30, the Justice Department claimed that Bankman-Fried had contacted FTX CEO John Ray to inquire about how to gain access to the company’s funds. In a hearing on February 7, Judge Kaplan said he would hear arguments on the subject.
Bankman-Fried will go on trial in October in the Southern District of New York U.S. District Court on eight criminal counts, including wire fraud. In the District of Delaware, where FTX’s bankruptcy case is also active, debtors have recently issued subpoenas to SBF’s family members in order to obtain information and documents.