Sam Bankman-Fried‘s fraud trial may have concluded with a guilty on all counts conviction, but the FTX fraudster’s legal troubles are far from over with his political campaign donations now under the spotlight.
The disgraced crypto czar, 31, may be in court again next March as he’s accused of paying a $40 million bribe to Chinese officials and conspiring to make more than 300 illegal political donations in the U.S.
A decision will be made on whether that trial goes forward next February, as prosecutors debate whether the trial’s costs are worth it.
The prosecution accuse him of paying the $40 million in cryptocurrency to unfreeze accounts belonging to his hedge fund, Alameda Research, that Chinese authorities had frozen in November 2021. The accounts held more than $1billion of cryptocurrency, U.S. prosecutors said.
Bankman-Fried is also suspected of orchestrating an illegal campaign donation scheme to buy influence in Washington, DC but charges relating to his contributions were dropped on a technicality in July.
The US Attorney’s office in Manhattan had initially charged him with violating US campaign finance laws, but dropped that charge after the Bahamas said it had never intended to extradite Bankman-Fried to the US on that charge.
Sam Bankman-Fried ‘s fraud trial may have concluded with a guilty on all counts conviction, but his legal troubles are far from over for the fraudster
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried meets Katy Perry, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, at the Crypto Bahamas event organized by FTX
But former SEC chair Jay Clayton has said SBF was at the center of ‘one of the largest campaign finance problems in history’ and said not prosecuting him would send the wrong message to future fraudsters.
‘The question of whether to purse something or not also has to come down to the ramifications of not pursuing something where many of the facts are already in the public domain,’ he told CNBC.
‘Many questions would be asked if this case was just thrown out.
‘How it gets pursued, whether it some kind of plea agreement…the facts of what happened here ought to be on the table.
‘Sam was not the only on participating in this campaign finance scheme.’
Clayton said not prosecuting SBF would be a blow to the integrity of the US election system.
‘I am not a scalp for scalps sake kinda person but this goes to election integrity and all the things, that gosh are in the news in so many ways these days,’ he said,
‘I do think it is something the American people should see what happened here, see what is legal and illegal.’
The Justice Department did not respond when asked if they would charge the fraudster over the campaign finance violations again.
Bankman-Fried rode a boom in cryptocurrency values to compile a net worth of $26billion and became an influential donor to mostly Democratic candidates.
He contributed money from his personal accounts as well as millions more from his companies FTX and Alameda Research.
Prosecutors say he directed more than $70million to electoral campaigns in just 18 months, of which he personally gave at least $40million ahead of the midterm election, mostly to Democrats, as reported by TIME.
Former-Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison claimed in her testimony that Bankman-Fried donated $10 million to Joe Biden’s campaign to gain ‘influence and recognition.’
Bankman-Fried was the second-top donor to the Party, only behind George Soros, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine all received funds from Bankman-Fried.
While public records show he donated almost exclusively to Democrats, SBF has said he donated equally to Republicans in untraceable donations. If that is true, he injected more than $80million to the midterm elections in 2022.
Bankman-Fried appeared on a panel with former President Clinton, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair
Bankman-Fried had a scheduled meeting with New York governor Kathy Hochul, and also scheduled a dinner with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in March 2022
‘All my Republican donations were dark,’ he told YouTuber Tiffany Fong. ‘The reason was not for regulatory reasons, it’s because reporters freak the f—k out if you donate to Republicans. They’re all super liberal, and I didn’t want to have that fight.’
The White House has not said whether Biden will return the fraudster’s donations but the some candidates have donated the cash to charity, given it back or are waiting for the Department of Justice to determine how it should be dealt with.
As Bankman-Fried tried to gain influence in DC, a company tied to him purchased a townhouse in the capital for $3million.
The fraudster met with four Biden officials this year before the collapse of his FTX empire and his arrest in the Bahamas.
He held talks with senior White House advisor Steve Ricchetti at least three times in 2022. Bloomberg reported that the meetings focused on the crypto industry and exchanges, and did not involve politics.
Bankman-Fried was set to sit down with former President Bill Clinton, New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Yasir Al Rumayyan, the head of Saudi Arabia ’s Public Investment Fund, shortly before his crypto empire came crashing down in November 2022.
During his trial it emerged that he met with Clinton at the New York Hilton hotel in Midtown Manhattan in September 2022, roughly two months before FTX collapsed.
That same month, calendar invites showed he had a meeting set up with Al Rumayyan, at The Pierre hotel in New York.
The townhouse in Washington DC was purchased by Bankman-Fried’s brother Gabe as part of his non-profit Guarding Against Pandemics
The month before he met with Clinton, he set up a meeting with Hochul, and also scheduled a dinner with New York City Mayor Eric Adams in March 2022.
Bankman-Fried had also appeared on a panel with Clinton, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, at a crypto-conference in the Bahamas in April 2022. Tickets started at around $3,000-a-head.
Stars including Tom Brady, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom were also in attendance at the event, and footage showed the then-billionaire gleefully partying with the A-listers.
Bankman-Fried was convicted of fraud for stealing at least $10 billion from customers and investors on Thursday.
FTX suffered a catastrophic collapse in November 2022, leaving customers roughly $10 billion out of pocket,. The saga shocked markets and tattered SBF’s once god-like reputation within the crypto industry.
The fraudster’s parents, Stanford law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, were sitting in the front row of the courtroom, and hugged once the verdict was read out. Barbara fought back tears, putting her fingers in her ears to drown out what the judge was saying, while Joseph held his head in his hands.
Their son was then led back into the holding cell, nodding to his parents as he passed them. His mother responded by touching her chest.
Bankman-Fried will be sentenced on March 28, but his lawyer, Mark Cohen, insisted they will continue to ‘vigorously fight the charges.’
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk