Sam Bankman-Fried, a prominent and controversial figure in the cryptocurrency industry, has been banned from contacting employees of the popular crypto exchange FTX and Alameda, according to an order from U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. The restriction was imposed following claims that Bankman-Fried had attempted to communicate with a potential witness through the encrypted messaging platform Signal.
BREAKING: DOJ claims Sam Bankman-Fried tried to influence witness testimony, asks for communications ban
— whalechart.org (@WhaleChart) January 29, 2023
Claims of Witness Tampering
According to federal prosecutors, Bankman-Fried’s actions could be considered as “witness tampering” after he communicated with “Witness-1,” the present General Counsel of FTX US.
A statement attributed to Bankman-Fried by U.S. prosecutors says that he expressed a desire to reconnect with and explore the possibility of having a cooperative relationship where they could support each other and consult with each other when necessary.
Bankman-Fried’s Statement and Legal Team’s Defense
While Sam Bankman-Fried did not deny that he contacted an employee of FTX, his legal team argued that his actions were just an attempt to offer help during FTX’s bankruptcy process and were not misconduct.
However, Judge Kaplan did not see it in a positive light and believed it was an effort to align the testimony of both the defendant and the witness. The communication took place using Signal and email on January 15, revealing that Bankman-Fried had also reached out to other current and former employees of FTX since his release.