Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged in an alleged effort to bribe Chinese officials, according to a recent series of federal indictments. The former cryptocurrency chief is facing a litany of accusations after his online exchange collapsed last year.
According to federal investigators, Bankman-Fried tried to bribe Chinese officials with $40 million worth of cryptocurrency, which was accepted. The bribe was intended to aid Alameda Research, another one of his companies.
The relationship between FTX and Alameda Research is at the heart of accusations that Bankman-Fried committed billions of dollars in fraud.
The charges against Bankman-Fried allege that he hid the close relationship between FTX and Alameda Research, including multiple transfers of funds between the two.
The indictment accuses Bankman-Fried of improperly using Alameda and FTX holdings, including “to bankroll tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions made in the names of individuals but in fact funded from Alameda accounts.”
Furthermore, the Chinese government froze accounts linked to Alameda on several major cryptocurrency exchanges. This totaled about $1 billion in cryptocurrency holdings.
After the Chinese government would not release the Alameda accounts, Bankman-Fried allegedly “agreed to and directed a multi-million-dollar bribe to seek to unfreeze” the accounts.
After the November 2021 payment, the Chinese government unfroze Alameda’s accounts. The federal government stated that after the unfreezing, the disgraced FTX head authorized an undisclosed additional amount of funds “in cryptocurrency to complete the bribe.”
BREAKING: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with directing $40 million in bribes to one or more Chinese officials to unfreeze assets relating to his cryptocurrency business. https://t.co/vFCn6afUcV
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 28, 2023
Investigators also charged Bankman-Fried with a dozen new charges. These come after eight indictments were announced in December 2022.
In the original set of charges, the federal government accused Bankman-Fried of a number of crimes, including fraud and money laundering. Bankman-Fried is also under investigation related to a number of major political donations.
While the former FTX chief claims that he donated heavily to Republicans, most of the known donations went to Democratic candidates. Bankman-Fried also faces four related charges introduced in February 2023.
The total contributions to left-leaning causes and candidates totaled more than $40 million.
Bankman-Fried’s donations made him the second-largest donor in the most recent election cycle, second only to billionaire George Soros. Bankman-Fried donated heavily to the House Majority PAC and the Senate Majority PAC, both of which aided Democratic candidates. He donated $7 million to the organizations and millions more to related candidates and causes.