Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with bribery by Chinese officials, who allege that he paid at least $40m (£32.4m) to unfreeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund linked to FTX.
Prosecutors claim that Bankman-Fried transferred tens of millions of dollars worth of additional cryptocurrency to complete the bribe.
Background: Bankman-Fried is already facing eight counts related to the collapse of FTX last year, where the trading firm ran out of money after a cryptocurrency bank run.
Prosecutors have accused him of stealing billions of dollars in customer funds to cover losses in Alameda, his hedge fund. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to these charges.
Account Unfreezing and Bribe Payment: The accounts of Bankman-Fried’s trading firm, Alameda Research, were frozen by Chinese authorities, with holdings of more than $1bn (£812m) in cryptocurrency.
Prosecutors allege that the accounts were unfrozen after the alleged bribe payment was made around November 2021.
Bankman-Fried is accused of directing the payment to unfreeze these accounts.
The Bribe: Prosecutors claim that Bankman-Fried paid at least $40m to Chinese officials to complete the bribe.
He is accused of transferring tens of millions of dollars worth of additional cryptocurrency to facilitate the payment.
Legal Charges: Bankman-Fried is facing a total of 13 charges, including the eight counts related to the collapse of FTX and the bribery charge in China.
Commentary: The allegations against Bankman-Fried are serious and could have significant consequences for the cryptocurrency industry.
Individuals in positions of power must be held accountable for any illegal actions they may have taken.
The outcome of Bankman-Fried’s legal proceedings will be closely watched by many in the cryptocurrency community.