“FTX Co-Founder Sam Bankman-Fried to Face Dual Trials as Criminal Charges are Split”
In a significant legal development, the Department of Justice’s charges against Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder of FTX, will be subject to separate trials after his extradition to the United States. The criminal charges against him, which include allegations of crypto exchange mismanagement, have been divided into two sets of proceedings.
Bankman-Fried currently faces a total of 13 charges, encompassing fraud, fraud conspiracy, and bribery. Initially, a single trial encompassing all charges was scheduled to commence on October 2.
However, a recent ruling by United States District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan on June 15 determined that five of the charges will be separated into a distinct trial scheduled for March 11, 2024. This decision follows the additional charges imposed by the Department of Justice in February and March 2023, subsequent to Bankman-Fried’s extradition from The Bahamas in December 2022.
The division of charges occurred as prosecutors from the Department of Justice sought permission from Bahamian authorities to prosecute Bankman-Fried on the five additional charges that were added post-extradition. Lawyers representing the FTX co-founder contested these charges, asserting that they should not be considered since they were introduced after his extradition.
In response, on June 14, the Department of Justice announced its intention to proceed with the original eight charges filed against Bankman-Fried, citing potential delays if they were to wait for the approval of a motion filed by Bankman-Fried in The Bahamas.
The upcoming trial in March will specifically address charges related to conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business, bribery conspiracy, bank fraud conspiracy, as well as derivatives and securities fraud. The remaining charges pertain to various forms of wire, derivatives, and securities fraud, along with allegations of money laundering, all allegedly connected to Bankman-Fried’s activities at FTX and Alameda Research.
This development places Bankman-Fried in a unique position, with the legal proceedings against him divided into two trials, each addressing different aspects of the charges brought forth by the Department of Justice.