Sam Bankman-Fried Keeps Trying to Reach Out to FTX Employees, Possible Witnesses

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried may be banned from using Signal, the encrypted messaging app, following efforts that federal prosecutors believe may “constitute witness tampering.”

According to a request filed in Manhattan federal court on Friday, Bankman-Fried had sent a message to the current general counsel of FTX US “who may be a witness at trial.” The possible witness was called ‘Witness 1’ and left unnamed in the filing but records show that Ryne Miller currently holds the post at FTX US.  

“I would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” Bankman-Fried told Miller on January 15, according to the filing. This was shortly after it was revealed that advisors were able to recover over $5 billion of FTX assets.  

The filing also reveals that Bankman-Fried has also been in contact with “other current and former FTX employees,” with federal prosecutors indicating that the former FTX chief may be trying to influence potential witnesses. 

The prosecutors are asking United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan to revise the conditions of Bankman-Fried’s bail to add a condition that states he can’t communicate with current or former FTX and Alameda Research employees without a lawyer and a waiver from the Justice Department. The prosecution also pointed out Signal’s disappearing messages feature which automatically deletes the encrypted messages shortly after they’ve been read.

“Using Signal to contact potential witnesses increases the likelihood that detection of any attempt to obstruct justice by influencing a witness will itself be obstructed,” the prosecutors told the judge.

But Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, dismissed allegations of witness tampering and instead described the incidents as his client’s “innocuous attempt to offer assistance in FTX’s bankruptcy process.”

In the same filing, it was also revealed that Bankman-Fried has been trying to get in touch with appointed FTX CEO John J. Ray III via email, and even offered to meet in-person in New York City on January 3.

Judge Kaplan is set to make a decision on the prosecutors’ request this week.

Bankman-Fried pled not guilty to the eight criminal counts, including wire fraud and money laundering, that were brought against him by the Justice Department in December. He is currently out on a $250 million bail bond, his trial is scheduled to start in October.

Separately, Judge Kaplan ruled on Monday that the identities of the two guarantors who helped Bankman-Fried raise the historic $250 million bond be unsealed and released to the public. Kaplan has given Chen until February 7 to contest the ruling.

The ruling was a decision on a petition submitted by eight media outlets, “for the limited purpose of asserting the public’s claimed right of access” to the identities. 

Information for this briefing was found via CNBC, Fortune, Bloomberg, Coin Telegraph, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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