January 27, 2023

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is leaving after his indictment in New York City on December 22, 2022. - New York Judge Gabriel Gorenstein ordered Bankman-Fried to be released on $250 million bail on Thursday while he awaits trial on criminal charges fraud due to the spectacular collapse of his crypto exchange.  (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is released on $250 million bail (Image: AFP)

Former cryptocurrency executive Sam Bankman-Fried is set free on $250 million bail, a federal judge ruled in his first US trial.

Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, went to his New York arraignment on Thursday, a day after being extradited from the Bahamas.

He said the bail was part of a deal between federal prosecutors and Bankman-Fried’s lawyers CNBC.

Bankman-Fried was charged with eight charges including securities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy following the company’s meteoric collapse in November.

Sam Bankman-Fried is handcuffed and led to a plane during his extradition to the United States

Sam Bankman-Fried is led handcuffed to a plane during his extradition to the United States (Photo: Reuters)
Barbara Fried, the mother of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, arrives for his arraignment and bail hearings at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York City on December 22, 2022 (Photo: Getty Images North America)

The former CEO has been accused of stealing user deposits to lend money to his hedge fund, Alameda Research. He has also been accused of using these funds to buy lavish real estate in the Bahamas and make donations to political candidates in the US.

In a series of interviews since the company’s collapse, Bankman-Fried has denied the fraud allegations and stated that he never intended to defraud customers.

Sam Bankman-Fried leaves court after his arraignment in New York City on December 22, 2022 (Image: AFP)
Sam Bankman-Fried was charged in New York one day after being extradited from the Bahamas (Image: Reuters)

Bankman-Fried faces a maximum prison sentence of 115 years if convicted on all charges.

After being arrested in the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried was held without bail at the country’s notorious Fox Hill Prison.

Bankman-Fried appeared before a Bahamian judge on Monday and agreed to be extradited to the United States. He was released into FBI custody and flown to New York.

Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison secretly pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is now a cooperating witness (Photo: LinkedIn)
FTX co-founder Gary Wang also pleaded guilty to fraud charges, the US law firm announced (Photo: Eric Faison)

On Wednesday evening, US Attorney Damian Williams announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s associates at FTX were also charged with wire fraud and conspiracy.

Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, and Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, were both charged with crimes related to “their role in the fraud that contributed to the collapse of FTX,” Williams said. Both Wang and Ellison pleaded guilty on Dec. 19 and are cooperating with investigators.

“If you have participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it. We are moving fast and our patience is not eternal,” said Williams.

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