Former cryptocurrency tycoon, Sam Bankman-Fried, will not be facing federal charges related to campaign finance donations, according to recent announcements by federal prosecutors.
The decision to drop the charge is based on treaty obligations with the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried was arrested in December following the collapse of his multi-billion dollar crypto exchange, FTX. He was initially charged with fraud and campaign finance violations for allegedly donating $90 million of customer deposits to political candidates and action committees.
Extradition and Clarification:
After Bankman-Fried’s extradition from the Bahamas to the United States, the Caribbean nation clarified that they did not intend the extradition to include charges related to campaign finance. As per the extradition terms, any additional charges brought against Bankman-Fried following his initial arrest required approval from the Bahamian government.
Prosecutors allege that FTX, under Bankman-Fried’s supervision, conducted a scheme to divert customer deposits and make illicit contributions to predominantly Democratic candidates. During the 2022 election cycle, Bankman-Fried donated $6 million to the House Majority PAC, a key outside group supporting House Democrats. Additionally, he contributed $27 million to the Protect Our Future PAC, an organization advocating for pandemic preparedness, and $6 million to the Future Forward PAC, which supported Biden’s 2020 Presidential run.
Among the individual recipients of Bankman-Fried’s donations was New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who received $5,800 in June 2022. A joint fundraising group associated with Gillibrand, called the ‘Gillibrand Victory Fund’, also received $10,800. Furthermore, some donations were made to Republican candidates, including Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, who received $5,800 from Bankman-Fried in August 2021.
Despite the dropped federal charges related to campaign finance donations, Sam Bankman-Fried’s legal situation may still be subject to further developments. The decision underscores the importance of honoring international treaty obligations and clarifying extradition terms to avoid potential legal complications.