In a significant development, the criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of FTX cryptocurrency exchange, is set to proceed with the original eight charges leveled against him by United States prosecutors.
The US Department of Justice (DoJ) confirmed its decision in a recent court filing, stating that the trial will commence as scheduled on the counts contained in the initial indictment.
Bankman-Fried’s legal team had filed a motion challenging several of the 13 charges he faced, arguing that they were not part of the original indictment that formed the basis for his extradition from the Bahamas.
While this motion is expected to prolong the legal process, the DoJ expressed its readiness to proceed with the trial on the charges outlined in the original indictment, acknowledging that resolution of the motion might occur near or even after the trial date.
The Supreme Court of the Bahamas also weighed in on the matter, ruling that Bankman-Fried should be afforded the opportunity to formally contest the new charges before the country can authorize their inclusion.
After Bankman-Fried’s extradition, the DoJ unsealed four additional charges in February, related to fraud and fraud conspiracy, followed by an extra charge in March accusing him of bribing Chinese officials. These charges are currently under review and will be subject to separate proceedings.
Bankman-Fried, who founded and previously served as CEO of FTX, was initially charged in December 2022 in connection with the mismanagement of the failed exchange. FTX experienced a liquidity crisis in November 2022, leading to its subsequent bankruptcy.
The prosecution alleges that Bankman-Fried commingled customer funds and provided misleading information to investors regarding FTX’s risk management practices, resulting in financial losses for investors and customers.