FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty to Latest Bribery Charge

Prosecutors added an attempted bribery charge earlier this week.

AccessTimeIconMar 30, 2023 at 3:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 30, 2023 at 7:57 p.m. UTC
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FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted bribery and campaign finance violations unveiled in two recent superseding indictments during a court appearance on Thursday.

Prosecutors unveiled the bribery charge on Tuesday, alleging Bankman-Fried tried using over $40 million in crypto to bribe at least one Chinese government official to unlock funds in accounts tied to Alameda Research, another of his companies.

The latest indictment came on top of a superseding indictment unveiled last month that added bank fraud charges and detailed the campaign finance allegations. Bankman-Fried was arrested last year in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S., where he was released on bond. He is set to go to trial this fall.

Bankman-Fried's attorney, Mark Cohen, told the court that while the defendant pleaded not guilty, he was not acknowledging the more recent sets of charges because they came after his extradition from the Bahamas.

"My client is not acknowledging he can be tried," Cohen said.

Reuters first reported the plea, after reporting earlier on Thursday that Bankman-Fried was likely to plead not guilty to the charges.

Federal prosecutors also took time at Thursday's hearing to discuss their progress reviewing the contents of seven electronic devices produced by Bankman-Fried. Prosecutors told the judge the process was going slower than expected due to the size of the devices and the amount of information. So far, approximately 6 million pages of documents have been produced in the case. One device, identified as Laptop B, is a sticking point for Bankman-Fried's defense.

"We do have a concern about Laptop B," said Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried's lawyer. "That relates to a cooperating witness who will be an important witness on trial."

The next status conference is set for June 15 at 3:30 p.m. ET.

UPDATE (15:46 UTC): Adds additional information about discovery.

Edited by Sheldon Reback.

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