Lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried have announced an agreement with US prosecutors on revised bail conditions. This comes after a judge indicated the possibility of sending the FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder to jail pending trial. Bankman-Fried faces a trial on criminal charges of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds and making large illegal political donations to buy influence in Washington, D.C.
Under the proposed new conditions, Bankman-Fried would receive a new phone with no internet capability and a basic laptop with limited functions, while being forbidden from using other electronic communication devices. The laptop will have monitoring software to track user activity, and Bankman-Fried will not have administrative access to prevent tampering with the restrictions. Additionally, the new phone’s communication functions will be limited to text messages and voice calls, with all other messaging applications prohibited.
In a letter sent on Monday, Bankman-Fried’s parents agreed to restrict his access to their devices, while signing sworn affidavits to not bring prohibited electronic devices into their home. The letter also stated that if there is reasonable suspicion of a violation, Bankman-Fried must submit his devices for a search.
Approval from US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing Bankman-Fried’s case, is required for the new conditions to go into effect. Kaplan had previously rejected a proposal that would have allowed Bankman-Fried to have a flip phone with no internet capability and a laptop with limited functions, arguing that Bankman-Fried could “find a way around it.”
Bankman-Fried was released on $250 million bond to home detention at his parents’ Palo Alto, California home after his extradition in December from the Bahamas, where FTX was based. However, in January, federal prosecutors in Manhattan expressed concerns about witness tampering and sought severe restrictions on his use of the internet after he attempted to contact current executives at now-bankrupt FTX. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that he was trying to help, not interfere.