US federal prosecutors Tuesday charged Samuel Bankman-Fried, former CEO and co-founder of crypto trading platform FTX, with bribing Chinese government officials in early 2021 as part of a superseding indictment.
In the indictment, prosecutors accused Bankman-Fried of paying Chinese government officials $40 million to unfreeze cryptocurrency trading accounts on two of China’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. The accounts were frozen as part of an investigation by Chinese authorities and reportedly contained approximately $1 billion in cryptocurrency.
To carry out the bribe, prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried authorized and directed the illegal transfer of cryptocurrency to influence Chinese officials to unfreeze his trading accounts and authorized one of his employees to send a portion of the bribe payment to other employees, including one in the US.
Other charges brought forth in the indictment include allegations that Bankman-Fried fraudulently opened and used bank accounts affiliated with his company Alameda to receive customer deposits and transmit funds, misappropriated customer deposits and made unlawful political contributions to acquire bipartisan influence.
Bankman-Fried’s arraignment is set for Thursday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan. Tuesday’s charges are just the most recent that Bankman-Fried has faced since he was arrested in the Bahamas in December.