DOJ Wants to Block Sam Bankman-Fried From Bringing Up Anthropic AI Raise in Court

FTX owns a stake in Anthropic which was worth $500 million last year.

AccessTimeIconOct 9, 2023 at 3:30 a.m. UTC
Updated Oct 9, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. UTC
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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried should be barred from bringing up artificial intelligence company Anthropic's recent fundraising efforts in his defense against U.S. Department of Justice charges, prosecutors said Sunday.

The DOJ has been discussing issues that may be raised during witness testimony in Bankman-Fried's trial, and the parties "have reached agreement on many of these issues," said a filing. One area they remain apart on is whether the defense team can raise any issues around the Anthropic fundraise. The DOJ alleges that the $500 million investment in Anthropic in 2022 came from customer funds.

"Evidence regarding the current value of the defendant’s investments could only be used to support the argument that FTX customers and/or other victims will ultimately be made whole, which the Court has recognized is an impermissible purpose," the filing said.

The DOJ has previously tried to bar Bankman-Fried's defense team from arguing that FTX creditors will receive most or all of their funds back.

"The Indictment alleges that the defendant committed wire fraud by misappropriating FTX customer deposits to make investments and other expenditures. It is immaterial whether some of those investments might ultimately have been profitable," the DOJ filing said. "... Nor would it be a defense to the charges in this case if the defendant invested stolen FTX money believing that the investments would ultimately be so lucrative that he could pay back the stolen money."

Anthropic has an agreement with Amazon worth potentially up to $4 billion and is in talks to raise another $2 billion, Bloomberg reported last week.

FTX took a stake in Anthropic that was worth $500 million when it filed for bankruptcy nearly a year ago. The company's bankruptcy trustee has yet to sell the stake.

Thomas Braziel, the founder and CEO of advisory firm 117 Partners, told CoinDesk that the news about the fundraise was a "fantastic turn of events for FTX creditors."

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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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