Sam Bankman-Fried's Lawyers Ask Court to Conceal Identities of $250M Bail Co-Signers

The lawyers cited privacy and safety concerns as reasons for the request.

AccessTimeIconJan 3, 2023 at 3:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Jan 3, 2023 at 6:35 p.m. UTC

Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried asked a court to redact the names and identifying information of the two co-signers, in addition to his parents, for the former FTX CEO's $250 million bail, court filings from Tuesday show.

In the filing, the lawyers cited privacy and safety concerns as reasons for requesting the concealment of identities. The lawyers were told the U.S. government takes no position on the request, according to the filing.

In the letter addressed to presiding judge Lewis R. Kaplan, attorneys Mark S. Cohen and Christian R. Everdell of Cohen & Gresser LLP said that their request is justified because "all information relevant to the court's oversight of the bail proceedings" – including the conditions for bail – will be public and that they are looking only to block the public disclosure of identities.

The lawyers also said Bankman-Fried's parents "have received a steady stream of threatening correspondence, including communications expressing a desire that they suffer physical harm. Consequently, there is serious cause for concern that the two additional sureties would face similar intrusions on their privacy as well as threats and harassment if their names appear unredacted on their bonds or their identities are otherwise publicly disclosed."

Following the stunning collapse of his multibillion-dollar crypto enterprise in November, Bankman-Fried was indicted by the Southern District of New York on charges that include money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The founder of now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX was arrested in the Bahamas and was extradited to the U.S. to face the charges in December.

Bankman-Fried's parents' house in California, as well as two additional sureties, secured the bail for his release following an appearance in the U.S. federal court in New York on Dec. 22. The means by which the bond for his bail was secured was heavily scrutinized in the days that followed his release.

Now, just ahead of his Tuesday arraignment hearing in New York, Bankman-Fried's lawyers are asking the identities of the two sureties "be redacted on the bonds they will sign," and "not be publicly disclosed by the government."

"In addition, the limited relief sought herein is narrowly tailored to protect interests that courts widely recognize as justifying an exception to the qualified right of public access, namely, the privacy and safety of the sureties," the letter motion said.


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Sandali Handagama

Sandali Handagama is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for policy and regulations, EMEA. She does not own any crypto.