Sam Bankman-Fried caught trying to influence witness through encrypted messaging app Signal, DOJ alleges
Sam Bankman-Fried found himself in hot water again this week after the DOJ alleged the disgraced FTX founder tried to influence witnesses through the encrypted messaging app Signal.
In a letter to a Manhattan judge on Friday, federal prosecutors said Sam Bankman-Fried should be barred from encrypted messaging software, including Signal, citing efforts that may “constitute witness tampering.”
The prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried reached out to the “current General Counsel of FTX US who may be a witness at trial.” Ryne Miller, who was not identified by name in the government filing, is the current counsel for FTX US and is a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis.
The DOJ claimed that Bankman-Fried wrote to Miller via Signal on January 15, days after bankruptcy officials at the crypto exchange disclosed the recovery of more than $5 billion in FTX assets.
“I would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” Bankman-Fried allegedly told Miller during the Signal conversation.
That’s not all. The filing also showed that Bankman-Fried has also reportedly been in contact with “other current and former FTX employees.” Government prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried’s request suggests an effort to influence the witness’s testimony and that Bankman-Fried’s effort to improve his relationship with Miller “may itself constitute witness tampering,” CNBC reported.
Early this month, Bankman-Fried, 30, pleaded not guilty to federal fraud charges to eight federal fraud charges related to the collapse of the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. His trial is set for October 2.
Bankman-Fried first came into the spotlight in 2020 after he donated a whopping $5.2 million to Joe Biden’s campaign, making him the second-biggest donor.
Bankman-Fried founded FTX in 2019 with his co-founder Gary Wang. The Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX offers derivatives products like futures and options as well as spot trading. Once an unknown startup, FTX has become a key player in the crypto space, rivaling the likes of Coinbase and Binance.