In a surprising development in the ongoing FTX fraud case, Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have argued that he should have access to the assets and crypto-currencies belonging to his former company FTX, as there is no evidence of his involvement in any previously suspected illegal activities. Sam Bankman-Fried, who resigned as CEO of FTX on November 11, 2022, is on bail for wire fraud and money laundering, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
SBF seeks FTX crypto-currencies
After authorities provided evidence of illegal transactions from Alameda’s wallets, the conditions of Bankman-Fried’s release included a ban on him accessing any crypto-currencies that were held by the crypto-currency exchange FTX and its trading arm, Alameda Research. The injunction also covers crypto-currencies that were acquired with funds from FTX or Alameda.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, sent a letter to the court on Jan. 28 stating that it’s been about three weeks since the pre-trial conference, and that they’assume that the government’s investigation confirmed what SBF has always said, that it’s not accessed or transferred these assets. In addition, Cohen told Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York that the bail condition that was imposed at the conference should be withdrawn because the only justification offered for obtaining that condition has not been proven.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s old friends?
In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a document, filed Jan. 27, that Sam Bankman-Fried had attempted to contact Ryne Miller, general counsel of FTX, who is a potential witness in the case. As an additional condition of bail, the Justice Department has requested that a restraining order be placed on Bankman-Fried. In his response, Cohen indicates that he generally agrees with this restriction, but argues that Bankman-Fried should still be able to communicate with certain former employees, such as his therapist George Lerner.
Cohen was quoted as saying:
To require Mr. Bankman-Fried to include an attorney in every communication with a former or current FTX employee would impose an unnecessary strain on his resources and prejudice his ability to defend this case.
In addition, it was mentioned that many of these individuals were friends of Sam Bankman-Fried. Furthermore, placing blanket restrictions on his ability to communicate with them would deprive him of an essential source of emotional and moral support.