The founder of the FTX cryptocurrency market, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been released on bail and will remain under house arrest while he awaits trial in the US for the alleged million-dollar scam he committed through his company, which filed for bankruptcy a few weeks ago.
A US judge has ruled that the 30-year-old former billionaire can remain under house arrest with his parents, who put up his California home as collateral for the $250 million bail set by the magistrate.
At the hearing, Bankman-Fried neither admitted nor denied his guilt.
Shortly before his arrest in the Bahamas on December 12, the entrepreneur told the BBC: “I did not knowingly commit fraud. I don’t think I would commit fraud. I didn’t want any of this to happen. I certainly wasn’t as competent as I thought I was.” “.
Two of Bankman-Fried’s closest associates pleaded guilty to fraud Wednesday and are helping with the investigation.
Federal prosecutors in New York accused Bankman-Fried of illegally using FTX client deposits to fund his other cryptocurrency firm, Alameda Research, buy property and spend millions of dollars in political donations.
At a press conference last week, they described what happened with FTX as “one of the largest financial frauds in the history of the United States” and announced eight criminal charges including wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations. Financial regulators have also filed civil charges.
Bankman-Fried spent nine days in prison in the Bahamas weighing his options before deciding he would not appeal his extradition to the US, which could have sparked a lengthy legal battle.
At Thursday’s court hearing in New York, Assistant US Attorney Nick Roos said he would not oppose Bankman-Fried’s release on bail despite “fraud of epic proportions,” pointing to his decision to voluntarily return to the United States. .UU.
Bankman-Fried must surrender his passport and submit to a location check and detention at his parents’ home in California. He also agreed to regular mental health treatment. His parents will co-sign the $250 million bond, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, said.
The “king” fallen from grace
FTX filed for bankruptcy in November, leaving thousands of its clients unable to withdraw their investments.
In his prime, Bankman-Fried was seen as a younger version of legendary American investor Warren Buffet.
As of the end of October, he had an estimated net worth of more than $15 billion.
Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of FTX on November 11.
According to court documents filed earlier this month, FTX currently owes its 50 largest creditors almost $3.1 billion.
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