Sam Bankman-Fried Will Still Face Campaign Finance-Related Charge, Justice Department Says

Prosecutors had dropped a campaign-finance charge against the FTX founder last month.

AccessTimeIconAug 8, 2023 at 4:44 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 9, 2023 at 3:34 p.m. UTC
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The U.S. Department of Justice still plans to argue that Sam Bankman-Fried conducted an "illegal campaign-finance" scheme when it makes its case in court in October, prosecutors said in a letter Tuesday, two weeks after saying they couldn't bring a campaign-finance charge against the FTX founder because of a treaty with the Bahamas.

Prosecutors will file a superseding indictment next week, bringing seven charges against Bankman-Fried, the letter said. Each of those will be from the original indictment, excluding only a campaign-finance charge that the Justice Department dropped to comply with the U.S.'s extradition treaty with the Bahamas. FTX's headquarters were in the Bahamas.

The Justice Department, however, plans to fold the campaign-finance allegations into a wire fraud charge, according to the letter addressed to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, the jurist who is the presiding judge in the Bankman-Fried case.

"The superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign-finance scheme as part of the fraud and money-laundering schemes originally charged," the Justice Department said in the letter, adding that the use of customer deposits for campaigns fall into the wire fraud allegations brought in the original indictment.

"And as part of the originally charged money-laundering scheme, the defendant also concealed the source of his fraudulent proceeds through political straw donations," the Justice Department said. "As the government will outline in its forthcoming motions in limine [a pretrial motion], the evidence of the defendant’s campaign-finance conduct is admissible at trial as direct proof of the trial charges."

Bankman-Fried is set to go on trial in New York on Oct. 2, with another trial scheduled for March 2024 for additional charges brought across multiple superseding indictments.

Edited by Nick Baker.


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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

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