By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Friday asked a Manhattan judge to impose stricter bail conditions on Sam Bankman-Fried, expressing criticism for the founder of the FTX cryptocurrency. The exchange could tamper with witnesses or destroy evidence in his criminal case.
Prosecutors are asking U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan to bar Bankman-Fried from communicating with current or former employees of FTX or his Alameda Research hedge fund, citing Bankman-Fried’s “recent attempts to contact potential witnesses,” Family members are excluded unless a lawyer is present.
They also asked Bankman-Fried not to use Signal or other encrypted calling and messaging apps, though he was still able to communicate via text messages, emails and phone calls.
Bankman-Fried, 30 free on $ million-dollar bonds, and for looting dozens from now-bankrupt FTX pleaded not guilty to the $100 million charge and must live with his parents.
Lawye Bankman-Fried’s rs did not immediately return a request for comment.
In Friday’s letter, prosecutors cited Bankman’s signal message from January 15 – Fried to “Witness-1,” FTX General Counsel for the US affiliate. Bankman-Fried expressed interest in having a “constructive relationship” or “at least mutual vetting of things.”
Destructive information, involved in communications just prior to FTX’s November crash in which Bankman-Fried discussed using Alameda funds to satisfy FTX customer withdrawals. Efforts to influence the potential testimony of Witness 1, and the call for a ‘constructive relationship’ likewise meant that Witness 1 should remain with the accused,” said the prosecutor.
“Even though the accused prosecutor added , he did not directly attempt to interfere with the witnesses, and (his) contact with witnesses could intimidate them “not to come forward or to testify.
Let Bankman-Fried Staying away from Signal, prosecutors say he was directed by 15 to have many Signal and Slack communications automatically deleted within 15 days.
Prosecutors say former Alameda Gov. Caroline Ellison, who pleaded guilty and cooperated with them, told them that Bankman-Fried had said building a legal case could be more difficult if the information wasn’t withheld.