The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has made a significant move against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the prominent cryptocurrency figure and CEO of FTX. In a court filing on July 28, the DOJ is seeking the revocation of SBF’s bail, accusing him of witness tampering and leaking the diary of Caroline Ellison, a former romantic partner, and colleague, to The New York Times. These allegations have raised serious concerns about potential obstruction of justice and misuse of freedom while on bail.
DOJ’s Accusations of Witness Tampering and Communication
According to the court filing, SBF, who was released on bond on Dec. 22, 2022, allegedly made contact with the current general counsel of FTX US on Jan. 15, 2023, using both email and the encrypted messaging app, Signal. The communication raised suspicions as SBF expressed a desire to reconnect and explore the possibility of establishing a constructive relationship. The use of Signal’s auto-deletion feature added complexity to the investigation, prompting concerns about potential witness tampering.
Leaking Ellison’s Diary and Attempts to Intimidate
During a July 26 hearing in a Manhattan court, U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon accused SBF of attempting to “intimidate” Caroline Ellison by making around 100 calls to a New York Times reporter. The DOJ also alleges that SBF leaked Ellison’s personal diary to the media in a bid to discredit her as a government witness. These actions have further fueled suspicions of obstructive behavior and misuse of freedom during the trial.
The DOJ’s efforts to revoke SBF’s bail highlight the seriousness of the allegations against the cryptocurrency CEO. The accusations of witness tampering and leaking sensitive information have raised concerns about potential interference with the trial process. As the legal proceedings unfold, Judge Lewis Kaplan faces a difficult decision regarding SBF’s bail conditions. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the future of the trial and may serve as a cautionary tale about the consequences of tampering with witnesses and leaking confidential information.