Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX.com, allegedly paid US$40 million in cryptocurrency bribes to at least one Chinese government official in November 2021 to activate frozen accounts belonging to Alameda Research, the sister trading firm of the bankrupt exchange, according to additional charges filed against him on Tuesday.
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- “The defendant and others directed and caused the transfer of at least approximately US$40 million in cryptocurrency intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials in order to influence and induce them to unfreeze the Accounts,” federal prosecutors alleged in the indictment.
- The indictment said the Alameda-linked accounts held around US$1 billion worth of funds that the Chinese government froze. They were released to continue funding Alameda’s crypto trades after a private crypto wallet received payments from an Alameda-owned account.
- FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. last November, and its customers lost an estimated US$8 billion worth of digital assets.
- The exchange, now led by bankruptcy specialist John Ray III, has recovered at least US$5 billion of liquid assets as of January.
- Bankman-Fried is currently under house arrest at his parents’ home in California on a US$250 million bond as he awaits his trial scheduled on Oct. 2. He has pled not guilty to multiple charges of fraud and misappropriation of customer deposits.