Disgraced FTX CEO and Democrat megadonor Sam Bankman-Fried paid over $40 million in bribes to at least one Chinese government official, the Department of Justice (DOJ) alleged in a new indictment on Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors say that Bankman-Fried and his associates “directed and caused the transfer” of at least $40 million in cryptocurrency “intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials in order to influence and induce them” to unfreeze some accounts belonging to the FTX co-founder’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, according to a report by CNBC.
The Alameda Research accounts were the target of a freezing order from Chinese police “in or around” November 2021, the DOJ says.
The new indictment also claims that Bankman-Fried and others tried “numerous methods” to unfreeze the accounts, which contained roughly $1 billion in cryptocurrency.
After their efforts failed, the disgraced FTX co-founder allegedly directed a multi-million dollar bribe to unfreeze the accounts. Once the accounts were unlocked, Alameda Research used the assets to continue funding its loss-generating trades,
By November 2022, FTX and Alameda Research collapsed after Bankman-Fried told investors that the cryptocurrency exchange was facing a major shortfall of up to $8 billion from withdrawal requests and needed emergency funding. Shortly after that, FTX filed for bankruptcy and Alameda Research shut down.
In December, Bankman-Fried was charged with eight criminal accounts, including securities fraud and money laundering. Last month, the disgraced FTX co-founder was hit with four more charges relating to commodities fraud and making unlawful political contributions.
In January, the 30-year-old pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court.
The latest indictment on Tuesday suggests that the federal government has obtained new evidence about Bankman-Fried’s international dealings.
Moreover, the charges come one day after regulators hit crypto exchange Binance with allegations of facilitating terrorist financing and violations of U.S. derivatives law, CNBC noted.
While Bankman-Fried faces his charges, his collapsed FTX company remains entangled in bankruptcy court proceedings.