FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s charges are dropped

Federal officials dropped a campaign finance charge against Sam Bankman-Fried; this is the second time the charges against the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX have been reduced.

On Wednesday, prosecutors told Judge Lewis Kaplan that they were dropping the conspiracy charge to make illegal campaign contributions because they had not gotten permission from the Bahamas government when Bankman-Fried was extradited from the island nation in December.

For the same reasons, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan dropped another charge against him for breaking laws against bribery.

The moves make it harder for the former millionaire to be charged with a crime. Prosecutors say he worked with others to cheat investors and customers out of billions of dollars. The claimed plan caused Bankman-Fried’s FTX to fail and sent shockwaves through the crypto industry as a whole.

Prosecutors had said that Bankman-Fried used two unknown co-conspirators to move hundreds of millions of dollars in bipartisan campaign money around to get around limits on campaign contributions. If Bankman-Fried was found guilty, the charge could have added two to five years to his sentence.

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In a letter to Kaplan sent Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, prosecutors wrote, “The Government has been told that The Bahamas told the U.S. earlier today that they did not plan to extradite the defendant on the campaign contributions count.”

So, “in keeping with its treaty obligations to The Bahamas,” prosecutors wrote, “the Government does not plan to go to trial on the campaign contributions count.”

Since Bankman-Fried was arrested and sent to prison, several exchanges, advisors, and people have been charged with crimes and civil wrongdoings connected to cryptocurrency schemes. Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh, all top managers at FTX, have all pleaded guilty to federal charges. They are helping the government bring charges against Bankman-Fried, who will be tried later this year.


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