United States prosecutors have requested that the former CEO of crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, be subject to further restrictions surrounding his use of electronic devices.
In a letter to United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams outlined changes to FTX’s former CEO bail conditions, including the prohibition of cellphones, tablets, computers, and the internet, except for limited uses and subject to the conditions set forth by the prosecution.
The letter cites FTX’s SBF use of encryption and suggests that his behavior shows the current conditions allow too much room for circumvention of restrictions aimed at preventing inappropriate conduct, including contacting witnesses and accessing cryptocurrency assets.
Proposed Changes To Bail Conditions Of FTX’s SBF
The proposed modifications to Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions come after he was released on bond in December 2022. Following his release, he contacted a potential witness via Signal and email, encouraging them to align their views with his version of events.
After the government brought this to the court’s attention, the court preliminarily amended the conditions of Bankman-Fried’s release, adding conditions that he should not contact certain individuals or use any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application.
At a conference on February 9th, 2023, the court raised concerns that even with the proposed new bail conditions, FTX’s former CEO could still encrypt and delete certain data from applications on his phone.
The parties began discussing proposals to address these concerns. On February 13th, 2023, the government became aware that Bankman-Fried had used a VPN on at least two occasions to access the internet. A VPN hides a user’s IP address by letting the private network redirect it through a remote server run by the VPN’s host.
Bankman-Fried’s defense counsel suggested that his VPN usage was related to his defense preparation and accessing content not available within the United States.
The defense counsel did not dispute Bankman-Fried’s use of a VPN but clarified that on the dates mentioned by the government, Bankman-Fried had used the VPN to access an NFL Game Pass international subscription which he had obtained earlier while living in the Bahamas.
However, the prosecutors believe that the current bail conditions are too permissive and that Bankman-Fried’s behavior shows that he has the ability and inclination to seek workarounds of more narrowly drawn bail conditions.
If approved, Bankman-Fried would be severely restricted in his use of electronic devices, potentially affecting his ability to play video games such as League of Legends.
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