Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) pleaded not guilty to all federal indictments filed against him during a March 30 hearing, including the bribery charges unsealed last week, CNBC reported.
SBF’s lawyer Mark Cohen told reporters that he intends to file a motion to mitigate some of the charges and request the court not to try his client on all counts based on the argument that SBF cannot be tried on charges levied after his extradition.
It is unclear whether the court will approve the motion.
SBF’s trial is set to begin in October. He is also facing civil charges filed by the SEC and the CFTC.
Prosecutors have levied a total of 13 federal indictments against SBF.
The indictments include securities fraud; wire fraud; multiple counts of conspiracy related to committing wire fraud on Alameda’s lenders and FTX customers; money laundering; operating an unlicensed money transmitting business; bank fraud, illegal campaign donations, and bribing foreign officials.
The charges were levied in three rounds, with the latest focusing on bribing Chinese officials to unfreeze Alameda Research accounts.
Prosecutors claim that Chinese officials froze Alameda Research accounts containing roughly $1 billion in cryptocurrency that SBF and his associates tried to access through various “personal and legal” methods without success.
SBF eventually paid a $40 million bribe to unfreeze the accounts and Alameda used those funds to continue its questionable investments and operations, according to the court filing.
Additionally, SBF and his associates are charged with violating federal campaign finance laws by donating millions to political campaigns with corporate funds via straw donors.
The FTX collapse
Crypto exchange FTX and its sister firm Alameda Research collapsed after concerns over their balance sheets caused a massive bank run. In the ensuing days, investigations revealed that the concerns were warranted and both firms had taken massive liberties with customer funds under the leadership of SBF and his associates.
The implosion resulted in a direct loss of almost $10 billion for FTX customers, with no clear path to recovery so far.
SBF was subsequently charged and arrested in the Bahamas, where the exchange was based. He eventually agreed to extradition and went back to the U.S. in December 2022. Once in the U.S., he secured bail and is currently awaiting trial on bail at his parent’s California home under house arrest.