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Prosecutors today hit disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried with new criminal charges relating to political donations he made while running the now collapsed digital asset exchange FTX.
A superseding indictment Thursday alleges that the ex-FTX boss made more than 300 illegal political donations in the United States to “try to purchase influence over cryptocurrency regulation in Washington, D.C.”
FTX was one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world but blew up last November after Bankman-Fried and others allegedly criminally mismanaged the business by commingling funds and making risky bets with customer cash on its sister trading platform, Alameda Research.
Thursday’s new charge sheet alleges Bankman-Fried was able to “access and steal FTX customer deposits without detection.”
The indictment adds that SBF’s “unlawful political influence campaign” included “flooding the political system with tens of millions of dollars in illegal contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.”
Prosecutors now charge the former Jane Street trader and MIT graduate with 12 criminal counts in total. The new charges are: conspiracy to commit fraud on customers of FTX in connection with purchase and sales of derivatives; conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business; conspiracy to commit wire fraud on lenders to Alameda Research; and conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions and defraud the FEC.
Sam Bankman-Fried—better known as SBF—was arrested in December and initially charged by the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit at the Southern District of New York US Attorney’s Office with eight financial crimes.
Bankman-Fried last month pleaded not guilty to all the criminal charges—which included wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. His trial has been penciled in for October.
FTX allowed customers to buy, sell and bet on the future price of cryptocurrencies. The company was so renowned, it had the naming rights to the Miami Heat arena.
And SBF was popular with the establishment: he invited politicians to fancy business conferences in the Caribbean and donated millions to candidates, including President Joe Biden.
Some politicians are now giving those donations back. The White House has so far avoided commenting on SBF’s donations.
A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried declined Decrypt's request to comment.