Sam Bankman-Fried headed to US jail for witness tampering

Sam Bankman-Fried headed to US jail for witness tampering

Judge revokes former FTX co-founder's bail for trying to intimidate witnesses

​​​​​​​By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, United States (AA) - Sam Bankman-Fried had his bail revoked by a federal judge Friday for witness tampering and is headed to jail, according to multiple news outlets.

Federal prosecutors said the FTX co-founder violated terms of his bail at least twice by contacting potential witnesses against him and he spoke with a reporter from the New York Times about former FTX executive Caroline Ellison who has pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is set to testify against her ex-boyfriend as a star witness for the prosecution.

Prosecutors described the effort by Bankman-Fried as an attempt to discredit Ellison, characterizing it as a "means of indirect witness intimidation through the press," according to the CNBC network.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have maintained that their client has the Constitution's First Amendment right to free speech with reporters and that he should be able to defend himself against the accusations.

Bankman-Fried posted a $250 million bond and has been under house arrest at his parent's home in the state of California after being extradited from the Bahamas in December.

He pleaded not guilty to multiple conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange. Prosecutors have painted the downfall of FTX as one of the largest financial frauds in US history. They said Bankman-Fried allegedly stole billions of dollars from the company to finance risky bets at his Alameda Research hedge fund and subsidized a luxurious lifestyle for himself.

Before its collapse, FTX was one of the world's largest crypto trading platforms endorsed by mega superstars including Super Bowl-winning NFL quarterback Tom Brady and his supermodel former wife Gisele Bundchen.

Bankman-Fried will remain in jail ahead of his trial which is set to begin Oct. 2.

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