FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried encountered a change in his circumstances as he was taken into custody prior to his October trial, facing several allegations of financial crimes. A federal judge, on Friday afternoon, rescinded his bond release, citing concerns that the once prominent figure in the cryptocurrency realm might have attempted to interfere with witnesses. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court in New York stated that Bankman-Fried appeared willing "to push boundaries and come very close to [the edge], wherever that may be." After careful consideration, the judge concluded, "Taking all factors into account, I've decided to withdraw the bail."
He added: "My conclusion is there is probable cause to believe the defendant has attempted to tamper with witnesses at least twice… There is a rebuttable presumption that there is no set of conditions that will ensure Bankman-Fried will not be a danger."
On Friday, Bankman-Fried, the 31-year-old previous CEO of the crypto exchange FTX, made an appearance in court following actions by the U.S. Department of Justice to have him returned to jail. The department alleged that he had violated the terms of his bail by attempting to interfere with numerous witnesses.
The Department of Justice stated that Bankman-Fried's communication with Ryne Miller, the former general counsel of FTX.US, and his utilization of a virtual private network – which his defense team argued was for watching the Super Bowl – were sufficient grounds to alter his bail conditions. However, the tipping point came when Bankman-Fried shared portions of former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison's private journal with the New York Times. Judge Kaplan pointed out both instances of contacting former FTX employees during a detailed statement.
Bankman-Fried's defense team acknowledged he shared parts of a diary with the Times, but they argued against the idea that he was trying to influence a witness. The defense team also said that putting Bankman-Fried in jail would make it harder to get ready for his trial.
Bankman-Fried is scheduled for his trial to begin in early October, facing accusations of wire fraud, commodities fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and associated conspiracy charges. Additionally, he is slated for another trial, currently planned for March of next year, for supplementary charges brought by the DOJ subsequent to his arrest and extradition