Sam Bankman-Fried’s Lawyers Move to Quash Voyager Subpoena

The former exchange CEO's lawyers say the subpoena is procedurally deficient, presents an undue burden,and potentially violates Bankman-Fried's Fifth Amendment rights.

AccessTimeIconFeb 22, 2023 at 5:23 a.m. UTC
Updated Feb 22, 2023 at 3:32 p.m. UTC
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A Voyager Digital subpoena intended for Sam Bankman-Fried but given to his mother, Barbara Fried, is being called “procedurally deficient” by his legal counsel.

Bankman-Fried's attorneys told a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is in a filing that case law holds this specific type of subpoena must be personally delivered to the named individual, not left in the care of someone else.

Lawyers for Voyager’s creditors are investigating the attempt by the FTX exchange Bankman-Fried once ran to bail out crypto lender Voyager Digital when it filed for bankruptcy protection in July.

The specific type of subpoena in question is called a Rule 45 subpoena, which commands the named individual to produce designated documents for inspection and copying. These types of subpoenas are used to procure records and documents used in court cases.

“Leaving the Subpoena in the possession of Barbara Fried does not satisfy the Rule’s requirement for personal service on Mr. Bankman-Fried. Substitute service is generally not permitted to serve a Rule 45 subpoena,” according to Bankman-Fried's attorney, citing prior precedent from a number of cases.

The lawyers' filing added the subpoena places an undue burden on Bankman-Fried because it gives him only one business day to produce 49 separate documents, and a four-day notice to appear. The subpoena was served before the President’s Day three-day holiday weekend.

Compliance with the subpoena would also potentially violate Bankman-Fried’s Fifth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, which protects against self-incrimination.

“Each of the document requests calls for documents that may be relevant to the Criminal Case, in which loans by and to Alameda are at issue,” according to Bankman-Fried's attorneys. “The requested production would entail reviewing a large volume of material and making judgments about their responsiveness – a process that could be deemed to constitute an incriminating testimonial act in the Criminal Case.”

Voyager’s creditors are due back in court in New York on Feb. 22 for another hearing.


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