Sam Bankman-Fried will reportedly plead not guilty to a $40 million bribery charge.
The FTX founder had earlier pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy for allegedly overseeing the multibillion-dollar collapse of his cryptocurrency empire.
On Thursday (March 30), Bankman-Fried will plead not guilty to two new counts from unsealed indictments — the bribery charge, announced earlier this week — as well as bank fraud and campaign finance violations.
That’s according to a report by Reuters, which cites sources familiar with the matter.
An indictment unsealed Tuesday (March 28) accuses Bankman-Fried, 31, of approving bribes of more than $40 million for Chinese government officials to regain access to frozen cryptocurrency accounts in 2021.
According to the indictment, those accounts contained more than $1 billion in cryptocurrency tied to Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s investment firm. The funds were seized during an investigation by the Chinese government into a “particular Alameda trading counterparty,” the new indictment said.
After paying off a Chinese official, Bankman-Fried was able to regain access to that account, the indictment alleges.
Last month, prosecutors unsealed another indictment that alleges Bankman-Fried and his companies made more than 300 political contributions — totaling in the tens of millions — to politicians of both major parties, using other FTX employee’s names.
“Bankman-Fried’s use of straw donors allowed him to evade contribution limits on individual donations to candidates to whom he had already donated,” the indictment says.
Prosecutors also accuse Bankman-Fried of bank fraud, saying he and others opened a bank account under false pretenses.
All of this adds more pressure to Bankman-Fried, who already faces decades in prison if convicted on the initial charges when he goes to trial in October.
The downfall of his company last year — amid an already rough period for the digital asset sector — continues to shake the cryptocurrency sector, which has faced increased regulatory pressure.