STORY: More legal hot water for disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried….
The founder of now bankrupt crypto exchange FTX was accused by Manhattan federal prosecutors on Tuesday of conspiring to bribe Chinese government officials with $40 million worth of payments.
The new charge adds pressure on the 31-year-old former billionaire, who now faces a 13-count indictment over the November collapse of FTX.
Prosecutors had previously accused Bankman-Fried of stealing billions of dollars in customer funds to plug losses at his Alameda Research hedge fund, and orchestrating an illegal campaign donation scheme to buy influence in Washington.
He has pleaded not guilty to eight of the 12 prior counts he faces.
The latest indictment accuses Bankman-Fried of ordering a $40 million cryptocurrency payment to a private wallet from Alameda's main trading account, to persuade Chinese authorities to unfreeze Alameda accounts with more than $1 billion of cryptocurrency.
A spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment. China's foreign ministry could not immediately be reached for comment after business hours in Beijing. The Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bankman-Fried – who has been confined to his parents’ Palo Alto, California, home ahead of his October trial - is expected to be arraigned Thursday on the latest charge.
The judge on Tuesday also approved modifications to Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail package, which include the use of a cell phone without internet connection and a laptop with limited functions.