Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions still too lenient, says judge

On Mar 10, Reuters reported that the U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has expressed concerns over the proposed bail conditions for former FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried. 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph on March 4, U.S. district judge Lewis Kaplan serving on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York proposed that Bankman-Fried be prohibited from using smartphones, tablets, computers and any video game platforms or devices that allow chat and voice communication. The proposal said that Bankman-Fried’s communication should be limited to “a flip phone or other non-smartphone with either no internet capabilities or internet capabilities disabled.”

However, at a March 10 hearing, Reuters reported that Kaplan expressed concern at the proposal, suggesting that Bankman-Fried was “inventive,” and could find ways to evade the restrictions and covertly communicate with others electronically.

Kaplan reportedly shared:

“He could find a way around it and conceivably not get caught.” 

Christian Everdell, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, assured the court that he will work with prosecutors on a new proposal to address the judge’s concerns. 

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Bankman-Fried is currently fighting to avoid jail until his scheduled fraud trial on October 2, but prosecutors have charged him with stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds, making tens of millions of dollars in illegal political donations, and tampering with witnesses.

Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail has been the subject of scrutiny since February 9, following revelations that he had attempted to contact possible witnesses in his case. Additionally, he was temporarily prohibited from using a VPN after prosecutors alleged that he had utilized it twice, on January 29 and February 12.

Three of Bankman-Fried’s former closest associates, including former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, former FTX technology chief Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering chief Nishad Singh, have entered guilty pleas and are providing assistance to prosecutors.