By Molly Crane-Newman and Brian Niemietz, New York Daily News (TNS)
Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried is asking for criminal charges against him to be dropped.
The FTX founder alleges prosecutors in his upcoming trial made federal crimes out of what should be civil and regulatory complaints. A filing from his legal team, which came late Monday, argues 10 charges in Bankman-Fried’s 13-count indictment should be dismissed.
He’s accused of cheating investors and using FTX deposits to buy real estate, make risky investments and donate to politicians. The U.S. Attorney’s office calls his practices one of the biggest acts of fraud in the nation’s history. He allegedly misappropriated $8 billion in customer assets.
Bankman-Fried contends the company he operated from the Bahamas entered into bankruptcy in November after a global exchange crash was already underway. His Monday filing claims accusations against him are the result of Federal officials’ “troubling” response to a widespread collapse of cryptocurrency markets. Bankman-Fried denies wrongdoing.
Charges against the 31-year-old entrepreneur have mounted since his December 2022 arrest in the Bahamas. In March he was accused of violating the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in his dealings with Chinese officials. He allegedly paid $40 million in bribes to unfreeze $1 billion in cryptocurrency.
Monday’s filing from the law firm of Cohen & Gresser LLP claims some charges against their client fail to state actual offenses, while others are redundant. Lawyers for Bankman-Fried also contend U.S. authorities violated an extradition treaty with the Bahamas when they charged Bankman-Fried in late 2022.
Prosecutors have two weeks to respond to the defendant’s motion, according to CNN.
The MIT grad is the son of two Stanford law professors, with whom he now lives in Palo Alto, Calif. Bankman-Fried’s net worth was once estimated at $26.5 billion. He’s now worth $4 million, according to Forbes. He’s free on $250 million bail while awaiting trial in the fall.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney spokesman Nick Biase declined comment. Bankman-Fried spokesman Mark Botnick declined to comment beyond what’s included in the filings.
With News Wire Services
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