There might be “probable cause” to believe that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried engaged in witness tampering and other activities that could revoke his bail and send him to jail, said a judge during Thursday hearing in New York.
- According to a report from CNN, Judge Lewis Kaplan suggested that restricting Bankman-Fried’s access to the internet or monitoring his devices would not stop him from using the internet through other means.
- Kaplin said Thursday was not the time for a bail revocation hearing but added it “could get there, conceivably.” Such a move would evict the crypto entrepreneur from his parent’s home in Palo Alto, California, where he was released on a US$250 million bond after his arrest in December.
- Bankman-Fried awaits an October trial for federal fraud and conspiracy charges. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains his innocence publicly, but could face up to 115 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
- Prosecutors have requested Judge Kaplan significantly restrict Bankman-Fried’s use of cellphones, computers, and the internet, alleging that Bankman-Fried has potentially used “loopholes” such as VPNs to violate his bail conditions.
- The request came two weeks after prosecutors said Bankman-Fried contacted a former FTX employee who is a potential government witness, resulting in Kaplan temporarily banning him from contacting any employees of his now-collapsed crypto conglomerate.
- Judge Kaplan proposed that Bankman-Fried’s defense pay for a security expert to work exclusively for the court and advise him on VPNs and other technical matters. He gave the attorney until Feb. 21 to come back with a proposal.
See related article: Sam Bankman-Fried banned from using VPNs while on bail: Bloomberg