Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a set of new charges tied to last year’s collapse of his crypto empire.

See related article: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried charged with stealing customer funds for political donations

Fast facts

  • U.S. prosecutors filed a new indictment against Bankman-Fried on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy on Aug. 14. Those included the accusation that Bankman-Fried stole customer funds for political campaign contributions before the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.
  • Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried hid his actions by directing money from FTX sister company Alameda into the personal accounts of FTX executives. They then made the donations in their own names, prosecutors claim.
  • Meanwhile, during Tuesday’s hearing, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys requested that the former FTX CEO have access to internet-enabled laptops to review documents produced during the discovery phase.
  • The defense team also alleged that he is living in substandard conditions at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. They said the facility is failing to provide Bankman-Fried with vegan food options and prescription drugs to treat his attention deficit disorder and depression. 
  • Bankman-Fried, who once had an estimated fortune of US$26 billion, is accused of attempting to use the political influence generated via donations to lobby Congress and regulatory agencies for legislation favorable to FTX.
  • Bankman-Fried is believed to have donated over US$40 million to political figures in 2022, making him one of Washington’s largest donors. He mostly donated to Democrats, although he claims he also gave to Republicans using undisclosed “dark” donations.
  • Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December 2022 on multibillion-dollar fraud charges related to the failure of the FTX exchange. He maintains his innocence and has pleaded not guilty to all the charges brought against him.

See related article: FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried jailed for witness interference