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Federal Judge Lewis A. Kaplan yesterday tabled the possibility that the disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried should be completely cut off from electronics, which would amend his current bail conditions, per the Associated Press.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos suggested that banning Bankman-Fried's use of all electronic devices would be a more drastic alternative to the current agreement, but admitted it could hinder Bankman-Fried's ability to prepare for his upcoming trial, tentatively scheduled for October.
During the court hearing yesterday, the judge expressed his impatience with Bankman-Fried's use of the internet while on bail, suggesting that “there is a solution, but it’s not one anybody’s proposed yet.”
Bankman-Fried is under prosecution for his role in the collapse of his crypto exchange, FTX, and trading firm, Alameda Research—facing a potential 115 years in prison if convicted of multiple charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations.
He is currently living under house arrest with his parents in Palo Alto, California, under a set of conditions as part of a $250 million bail package, which he seems to be pushing to the limits.
Bankman-Fried turns to VPN
Earlier this week, U.S. prosecutors raised concerns about Bankman-Fried's use of a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to access the internet while on bail. VPNs can obscure online activity and make it difficult to trace communications.
In response, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, explained that his client had used the VPN to watch the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl using an international subscription he had previously purchased.
Other concerns around using an encrypted internet provide revolved around the FTX founder's communication with other FTX insiders and witnesses.
The prosecutors had previously alleged Bankman-Fried communications with former FTX and Alameda employees while on bail could amount to witness tampering.
This prompted the court to bar him from using the encrypted-messaging service Signal due to its auto-delete function but has allowed him to use WhatsApp with monitoring software installed.