What comes as a surprise to the ongoing FTX fraud case, Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorneys have argued that he should have access to the assets and cryptocurrencies owned by his former company FTX, since there is no proof of him being involved in any previously suspected unlawful activities. Bankman-Fried, who resigned as FTX’s CEO on Nov. 11, 2022, is on bail for wire fraud and money laundering, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
SBF Seeks FTX’s Crypto
After the authorities provided evidence of illegal transactions originating from Alameda wallets, the conditions of Bankman-Fried’s release from custody included a prohibition on him accessing any cryptocurrencies that were held by FTX crypto exchange and its trading arm, Alameda Research. This injunction also features cryptocurrencies that were acquired with either FTX or Alameda funds.
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Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, sent a letter to the court on January 28 in which he stated that roughly three weeks had elapsed since the preliminary pretrial conference, and they assumed the Government’s investigation has confirmed what SBF has said all along; specifically, that he did not access and transfer these assets. Furthermore, 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Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York that the bail condition that was imposed at the conference should be withdrawn because the single justification offered for obtaining that condition has not been substantiated.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s Old Friends?
In addition, the United States Department of Justice stated in a document, filed on January 27, that Bankman-Fried had attempted to contact FTX’s General Counsel Ryne Miller, who is a potential witness in the case. As an additional bail condition, the Department of Justice requested that there be a communications ban placed on Bankman-Fried. In his response, Cohen indicates that he generally agrees with the restriction, but he 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:
Requiring Mr. Bankman-Fried to include counsel in every communication with a former or current FTX employee would place an unnecessary strain on his resources and prejudice his ability to defend this case.
In addition to this, it was mentioned that a good number of these people were friends of Bankman- Fried’s. Moreover, the imposition of blanket restrictions on his ability to communicate with them would deprive him of an essential source of emotional and moral support.
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