In a surprising decision, US prosecutors have dropped the remaining charges against Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced former CEO of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. Bankman-Fried was found guilty in November 2022 on fraud and conspiracy charges but prosecutors had also planned to pursue additional charges for foreign bribery, bank fraud and unlawful political donations.
Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal criticized the decision, calling it a “miscarriage of justice” and emphasizing the need for public accountability. Grewal tweeted, “Justice ought to matter – even when it’s hard. Ditching charges *after* conviction just because the defendant promises not to appeal is unacceptable.” Twitter Link
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also weighed in, suggesting the decision reflects a broader issue of normalized political corruption. Kennedy tweeted, “Prosecutors deciding not to pursue remaining charges against Bankman-Fried reflecting US approach to normalized corruption.” Elon Musk simply replied with “!!” indicating his agreement. Twitter link
Explanation From Prosecutors
Prosecutors argued that a second trial on the additional charges was unnecessary since evidence related to those charges had already been presented during the first trial. The charges the government dropped were related to a disputed extradition case between the US and the Bahamas.
Sentencing and Next Steps
Bankman-Fried plans to appeal his conviction, admitting operational errors at FTX but denying theft of customer funds. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan will determine Bankman-Fried’s sentence in March 2024, considering factors like forfeiture and restitution payments to victims of FTX’s collapse.