Sam Bankman-Fried, better known as SBF, is in hot waters again. The founder of the failed FTX crypto exchange has been hit with an additional bribery charge. According to a superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday, U.S. prosecutors are accusing him of transferring at least $40 million to Chinese government officials.
SBF Paid $40 Million To Bribe Chinese Officials
Sam Bankman-Fried turned to bribery in order to unfreeze funds belonging to FTX’s sister firm Alameda Research, which were stuck on Chinese-based exchanges.
In the newly unsealed document, prosecutors allege that in 2021 SBF bribed Chinese officials to unfreeze $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies held in Alameda trading accounts hosted on two of China’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges. The funds were allegedly frozen as part of a probe into an Alameda counterparty. Neither the exchanges nor the company that was being investigated was named.
Prosecutors further claim that before resorting to bribery, the fallen crypto king tried to unfreeze the funds via various methods, including hiring attorneys to lobby the government, direct communication with the exchanges, and opening new trading accounts under false names, then attempting to move the frozen funds to these new accounts.
SBF eventually directed the transfer of $40 million worth of crypto to a private wallet in multiple instalments. Coincidentally, Alameda’s funds were unfrozen around the same time.
“In or about November 2021, Samuel Bankman-Fried, a/k/a ‘SBF,’ the defendant, and others directed and caused the transfer of at least approximately $40 million in cryptocurrency intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese officials in order to influence and induce them to unfreeze the Accounts,” the indictment reads.
Growing Troubles For Bankman-Fried
For those unaware, a superseding indictment entails additional charges filed against a defendant after the original indictment. Bankman-Fried is being charged with conspiracy to break the anti-bribery laws of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He’s already facing 12 other charges in connection with the spectacular implosion of FTX last November.
Three of SBF’s senior associates, including FTX co-founder Gary Wang, Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, and FTX head of engineering Nishad Singh, have all turned on him and are reportedly cooperating with the authorities.
Today’s superseding indictment indicates that the U.S. federal government has obtained new evidence regarding SBF’s international dealings and comes just a day after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission slapped global crypto exchange Binance with allegations of violations of derivative trading rules in the United States.