Bankman-Fried Charged With $40 Million Chinese Bribery Scheme

Disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is charged with funneling tens of millions of dollars to bribe at least one Chinese government official.

Federal prosecutors issued a new indictment Tuesday that laid out serious charges against the former crypto executive.

The indictment charged that accounts belonging to Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, were subject to a freezing order by Chinese authorities in late 2021. The U.S. government alleges that the entrepreneur and others sprang into action.

Officials said that he and his cohorts “directed and caused the transfer” of a minimum of $40 million in digital currency “intended for the benefit of one or more Chinese government officials. The purpose was to “influence and induce them” to back off from the freezing order.

Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried and his associates pursued “numerous methods” to reverse Beijing’s action, which affected roughly $1 billion in cryptocurrency. They charge that when these attempts did not succeed, Bankman-Fried agreed to the massive bribe.

When it succeeded, investigators said the funds were used to cover Alameda’s losses and keep the truth from investors for another year.

FTX and Alameda collapsed last November, and now the former CEO is under federal indictment from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Bankman-Fried was indicted in December on eight counts of money laundering, fraud, and illegal campaign donations. FTX was well known for funneling large amounts of cash to primarily Democratic politicians.

Four more charges were added last month after one of his former colleagues reached a plea deal with prosecutors. And with Tuesday’s indictment, another 12 charges that include conspiracy to violate anti-bribery statutes are tacked on.

The bribery business with China exemplified more of the same for Bankman-Fried’s method of operation. His millions lined political coffers in Washington, and he used company executives to donate to GOP candidates to build support across the aisle.

He visited the White House four times last year before his initial indictment, meeting with top aides to President Joe Biden. Five million moved from his pockets to a pro-Biden political action committee in 2020, and that was just a drop in the bucket compared to what he had planned.

Bankman-Fried announced in June 2022 that he was prepared to shell out $1 billion to prop up Democrats in last year’s midterm elections.