In a surprising turn of events, federal prosecutors have decided to drop the campaign finance violation charges against Sam Bankman-Fried, the alleged crypto crook, due to a legal issue surrounding his extradition from the Bahamas to the United States. The prosecutors moved to dismiss one count of conspiracy to make unlawful campaign contributions against the 31-year-old entrepreneur after the Caribbean country clarified that they had no intention of extraditing him on that specific charge. This clarification was outlined in a letter filed by prosecutors in Manhattan federal court late Wednesday.
Under the extradition treaty between the United States and the Bahamas, the island nation must consent to the charges brought against Bankman-Fried, who is known to be a significant donor in the 2022 midterm elections. As a result of honoring their treaty obligations, the Bahamian government expressed that it does not plan to proceed with a trial on the campaign contributions count, as stated in the letter.
The charge that has now been dropped alleged that Bankman-Fried and his associates utilized tens of millions of dollars from FTX funds to unlawfully make over 300 donations to political candidates, presumably in an effort to gain favor with those who could potentially pass laws beneficial to his company.
Notwithstanding the dropped charge, Bankman-Fried still faces 12 other charges in the case, although five of those counts are currently in question because they were added after his extradition. The Bahamas must also give consent for the charges added post-extradition. A judge has already ruled that the trial will proceed in October on the original charges, and a separate proceeding has been scheduled for March 2024 to address the charges that remain in limbo.
Currently, Bankman-Fried is under home detention at his family’s residence in California, granted a $250 million bond while awaiting trial.
On a separate note, prosecutors recently sought to have Bankman-Fried jailed, alleging that he engaged in witness tampering by providing a New York Times reporter with personal writings of his ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, who is expected to be a key witness against him during the trial. The judge issued a temporary gag order and allowed Bankman-Fried to remain free while considering the prosecution’s request.
As of now, both the US Attorney’s Office and a representative for Sam Bankman-Fried have declined to comment on the matter. The case continues to draw attention and raises questions about the intricate legal proceedings surrounding the alleged crypto-related offenses and campaign finance issues.