Sam Bankman-Fried Barred From Contacting FTX Employees Using Signal, Encrypted Messages

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A US decide on Wednesday briefly barred FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from contacting present or former staff of the cryptocurrency change or his Alameda Analysis hedge fund, and from utilizing encrypted messaging instruments together with Sign.

The ruling by US District Choose Lewis Kaplan got here after federal prosecutors in Manhattan mentioned Bankman-Fried may tamper with witnesses or destroy proof in his legal fraud case. He was arrested in December on prices of looting billions of FTX buyer funds, and mendacity to traders and lenders.

Prosecutors final week cited a Sign message Bankman-Fried despatched on January 15 to the overall counsel of the FTX US affiliate, referred to in court docket papers as “Witness-1.” Bankman-Fried proposed the 2 communicate on the telephone to attempt to “have a constructive relationship” or “vet issues with one another.”

Bankman-Fried, 30, has been beneath home arrest at his mother and father’ California residence after pleading not responsible. His legal professionals mentioned final week that his efforts to contact the overall counsel the corporate’s present chief govt, John Ray, have been makes an attempt to supply “help” and to not intervene.

Kaplan appeared skeptical of that argument, writing that Bankman-Fried’s January 15 message “seems to have been an effort to have each the defendant and Witness-1 sing out of the identical hymn guide.”

“Whereas defendant’s counsel seeks to have the Court docket interpret that message in a benign approach, that doesn’t seem, at the very least on a preliminary foundation, to be a persuasive studying,” Kaplan wrote.

A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried declined to remark.

Kaplan wrote that the brand new restrictions on Bankman-Fried’s conduct could be in place till at the very least February 7, when he would maintain a listening to to think about either side’ arguments. The order doesn’t apply to Bankman-Fried’s speedy members of the family, and he might talk with FTX or Alameda staff if legal professionals are current.

At subsequent week’s listening to, Kaplan will even contemplate a request by Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals to permit him to entry and switch cryptocurrency.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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