DOJ seeks to bar Sam Bankman-Fried from contacting FTX employees

The Justice Department asked a federal judge on Friday to bar FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from communicating with current and former employees. Collapsed crypto exchange Prosecutors allege that he contacted a potential witness in his recent criminal case without lawyers present.

Mr. Bankman-Fried faces related federal charges A burst of FTX, federal prosecutors filed earlier this month to have reached out to the general counsel of the company’s U.S. operations through an encrypted messaging application. Advocates Mr. Bankman-Fried said she contacted others as well Current and former FTX employees and worried that communications could lead to witness tampering.

With encrypted messaging apps like Slack and Signal, Mr. Prosecutors also asked the judge to bar Bankman-Fried from contacting her, saying she directed the company’s employees and his staff while she headed FTX. Crypto-investment firm Alameda Research To set their communications on these sites to automatically delete after 30 days. Prosecutors said the policy hindered the government’s investigation.

“Potential witnesses described relevant and incriminating conversations with defendant on Slack and Signal that were automatically deleted due to systems already activated at defendant’s direction,” prosecutors filed.

Mr. Attorneys for Bankman-Fried said in a letter to the judge that the government was misrepresenting their client’s benign behavior “in an apparent attempt to portray our client in the worst possible light.” They said the government’s request was excessive and unnecessary, instead barring Mr. Trump from contacting certain limited witnesses, not all current and former employees of FTX.

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Ryan Miller, FTX’s U.S. general counsel, could not immediately be reached.

Manhattan US Attorney’s Office Mr. Bankman-Fried alleged With last month Steals billions of dollars from FTX clients while misleading lenders and investors. He is innocent He is currently awaiting trial at his parents’ Palo Alto, Calif., home as ordered by the court.

Mr. Bankman-Fried sent a signal message to the general counsel on Jan. 15, saying she wanted to “reconnect and see if there’s a way to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources as much as possible, or at least check in on each other.”

Mr. Prosecutors did not identify the other employees Bankman-Fried allegedly tried to contact, but called the communications to the general counsel and others harassed.

“If the defendant were to ‘invent’ his version of events relative to potential witnesses, it could have the effect of discouraging witnesses from testifying contrary to the defendant’s story,” the Justice Department filed.

Mr. Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, Mr. Message sent to Miller, Mr. to offer his assistance to FTX. Bankman-Fried’s claim was more reasonably read as an attempt, not a “malicious attempt” to influence testimony at trial.

Write to James Fanelli at [email protected]

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