A US court has ruled that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is subject to house arrest pending trial on charges of defrauding clients and investors in the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange.
The judge said the 30-year-old former billionaire could be released on bail of $250 million.
Bankman-Fried did not admit, during his trial, and did not deny the charges against him.
He had previously distanced himself from the charges, which affected the entire cryptocurrency sector.
He told the BBC, shortly before his December 12 arrest in the Bahamas, where his company FTX is based and where he lives: “I didn’t commit fraud on purpose. I don’t think I committed fraud. I didn’t want this to happen.” I certainly wasn’t as competent as I thought.”
Two of Bankman-Fried’s closest associates pleaded guilty Wednesday and are assisting in the investigation.
New York federal prosecutors have charged Bankman-Fried with illegally using FTX client deposits to fund his other cryptocurrency company, Alameda Research, to buy real estate and make millions of dollars in political donations.
The operation was described during a press conference last week as “one of the largest financial frauds in US history,” and eight criminal charges were filed, including wire fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations, and financial regulators filed civil charges.
Bankman-Fried spent nine days in jail in the Bahamas, before telling the court in Nassau on Wednesday that he was OK with deportation, which could have sparked a drawn-out legal battle.
Assistant US Attorney Nick Ross said at the court hearing on Thursday in New York that prosecutors would not oppose bail for Bankman-Fried, despite the “unprecedented fraud”, pointing to the decision to voluntarily return to the United States and undermine his financial condition. severely.
Bankman-Fried’s release requires him to surrender his passport, undergo permanent surveillance and house arrest at his parents’ home in California, and agree to regular psychiatric treatment.
Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, said his parents would co-sign the $250 million bond.
Bankman-Fried, the son of two Stanford professors, founded FTX in 2019.
Bankman-Fried, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is best known among his fans by his initials, “SPF”, and is known as a hero in the world of cryptocurrencies. He has also been dubbed the “King of Cryptocurrency”, and he is known for bailing out troubled companies and making huge donations to charity. .
The collapse of his company, which was previously valued at more than $30 billion, destabilized the sector, leading to bankruptcies of other companies and a further decline in cryptocurrency values.
The company declared bankruptcy in November, after customers and investors rushed to withdraw their money from the company amid reports that its financial conditions were in trouble.
Bankman-Fried, who resigned as chief executive the same day, denied any wrongdoing and said it was focused on returning money to customers.
At Thursday’s arraignment hearing, Bankman-Fried spoke only once, when asked if he knew the terms of his release, with the possibility that he could be charged with an additional offense if he did not appear in court.
And he replied, “Yes, I know.”