Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty to new conspiracy, fraud charges

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Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, has pleaded not guilty to five federal charges of fraud and conspiracy in court on Thursday. The latest charge included bribery to the Chinese government.

In an indictment unsealed on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York revealed a round of charges against Bankman-Fried, claiming that in 2021 he transferred over $40 million worth of cryptocurrency to Chinese government officials.

Bankman-Fried allegedly directed the payment in an attempt to unfreeze trading accounts in Beijing tied to Alameda Research, his crypto hedge fund. Prosecutors claim that Bankman-Fried tried methods to unfreeze the account, which contained around $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency. Alameda Research then allegedly used the unfrozen assets to continue funding the hedge fund’s losing trades.

Bankman-Fried has also pleaded not guilty to charges related to bank fraud, money laundering, making unlawful political contributions that violate federal campaign finance laws, and operating an unlicensed money trading business in the United States. He has also pleaded not guilty to eight other counts.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a MaketWatch request for comment.

FTX was one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world until its collapse in November, during which it filed for bankruptcy. Along with the charges above, Bankman-Fried also faces civil charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Bankman-Fried is currently under house arrest with his parents in Palo Alto, Calif.

His trial is set to begin in October.

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