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SBF barred from contacting potential witnesses

SBF barred from contacting potential witnesses

Image source: The New York Times

SBF: According to sources, federal prosecutors requested that Sam Bankman-Fried’s bond arrangement be modified by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

They claim that the former CEO of the defunct cryptocurrency exchange platform may have engaged in “witness tampering” by sending possible witnesses encrypted texts.

The news

Prosecutors said in a four-page filing on Friday that SBF tried to utilize the encrypted messaging service Signal to get in touch with the current “General Counsel of FTX US.”

On January 15, he reportedly sent them an email as well.

The filing referred to Ryan Miller, FTX US’s current counsel, as “Witness-1.”

“I 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,” SBF allegedly wrote, according to US prosecutors.

Additionally, they said Bankman-Fried made an effort to contact additional present and former FTX workers.

SBF was allegedly trying to “vet things” with Miller in an effort to influence Miller’s testimony, according to the prosecutors.


In a recent filing, it was requested that SBF refrain from getting in touch with any additional current or former FTX personnel or Alameda Research.

The sole exception is that he can only participate if a lawyer is present and he has authorization from the relevant authorities.

Prosecutors pointed out that the circumstance is not an unusual pre-trial limitation.

Additionally, the brief asked Judge Kaplan to ban SBF from utilizing Signal and other comparable encrypted texting apps.

Prosecutors assert that the prohibition on SBF using encrypted communications channels guards against the obstruction of justice.

Caroline Elison, the CEO of Alameda, admitted to committing financial crimes.

She is now helping with the FTX collapse inquiry.

SBF was aware of the effects of the automated message deletion on platforms like Signal and Slack, Elison said to the prosecution.

“Many legal cases turn on documentation, and it is more difficult to build a legal case if information is not written down or preserved,” said the former FTX CEO to Elison, according to prosecutors.

Read also: NFT trade are looking good for early 2023

Other prohibitions

It is not the first time that a file has been required to alter SBF’s bond arrangement.

Prior to this month’s arraignment, his request for access to monies connected to FTX or Alameda was turned down.

He entered a not guilty plea to a number of financial offenses at the hearing.

The attorneys for Sam Bankman-Fried reacted with a letter that was delivered on Saturday.

The letter argued against the prosecution’s demand and provided its own unique set of recommended limitations on SBF’s communications.

The legal team’s response

“The Government’s proposal that Mr. Bankman-Fried be barred from any contact with former or current FTX employees without counsel present is simply unworkable,” the letter read.

“For example, it would mean that Mr. Bankman-Fried could not speak to his therapist, who is a former FTX employee, without the participation of his lawyers.”

Additionally, the suggested limitations from the prosecutors were deemed “overbroad” by SBF’s legal staff.

However, they proposed prohibiting their client from contacting current and former FTX and Alameda employees entirely.

Elison, Zixiao “Gary” Wang, and Nishad Singh are just a few names on the list.

The evidence presented by federal prosecutors does not support the proposed limits, according to SBF’s attorneys.

They reasoned that the attempt to get in touch with Miller by their defendant was an attempt to give support throughout the company’s bankruptcy process.

The attorneys said that it doesn’t suggest malfeasance.

Furthermore, the auto-delete feature wasn’t turned on in SBF’s communications to Miller.

They said that the fact that they were sent by email demonstrated that he wasn’t attempting to hide his activities.

“In fact, Mr. Bankman-Fried has turned off the disappearing messages function on his Signal account and is not sending any Signal or Slack messages with auto-delete features,” said the lawyers.

The provision of SBF’s bail prohibiting him from moving funds linked to FTX or Alameda should be lifted, according to his legal counsel.

Nearly three weeks later, they described the grounds as stating “that condition has not been supported.”

Later on Saturday, a court order outlining the correct procedures for each legal team to reply to the letters was filed, and Judge Kaplan provided specific instructions.

Additionally, he directed federal prosecutors to provide comprehensive copies of the correspondence between Miller and SBF.

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