(Republicaninformer.com)- Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is being accused of trying to tamper with a witness in his case.
This week, federal prosecutors asked a judge to implement tougher restrictions on him during his pretrial release period, alleging SBF – as he’s commonly known – used an encrypted messaging app called Signal to try to tamper with a witness.
Damian Williams, a United States Attorney from New York, wrote a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan, asking him to order that SBF stop contacting former associates at FTX unless he was in the presence of a lawyer. Williams also asked that SBF be prohibited from using Signal and other platforms like it.
Prosecutors are saying that SBF has been getting in contact with the person who’s currently serving as general counsel for FTX US, and that person might end up serving as a witness at SBF’s trial.
Williams alleged that SBF told the person on Signal that he “would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other.”
In the letter, Williams wrote that the last request SBF made there suggested he was trying to impact the future testimony of the potential witness. As the prosecutor wrote to the judge:
“Efforts by the defendant to improve his relationship with potential witnesses that may testify against him may itself constitute witness tampering. Were the defendant to ‘vet’ his version of relevant events with potential witnesses, that might have the effect of discouraging witnesses from testifying in a manner contrary to the defendant’s narrative.”
SBF is currently waiting for his trial to start. He’s facing many federal fraud charges after being accused of commingling funds between his FTX crypto exchange and Alameda Research, a sister trading company. Late last year, FTX collapsed seemingly overnight after a liquidity issue was identified related to this relationship, causing lots of people to lose loads of money in the process.
FTX has since declared bankruptcy, and SBF stepped down as the company’s CEO when that happened. He was arrested in the Bahamas – where the company has its headquarters – and was extradited to the U.S.
In his letter to the judge, Williams said that SBF had the ability to use Signal to “evade bail restrictions and pretrial oversight,” because the platform’s messages are encrypted and auto-delete after a period of time.
The prosecutor added:
“The proposed bail conditions in combination would more effectively prevent the defendant from obstructing justice. This proposed restriction will not inhibit the defendant’s ability to communicate with others as he could still use text message, email and conventional telephone calls.”
SBF has pleaded not guilty to all of the eight charges that are being levied upon him.
Lawyers who are handling the FTX bankruptcy said they were able to recover $5 billion of customer funds. They came in the form of liquid cryptocurrency, liquid investment securities and cash.