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DOJ Claims Sam Bankman-Fried Tried to Influence Witness Testimony, Asks for Communications Ban

Prosecutors filed a court document on Friday that says Bankman-Fried sent FTX US General Counsel Ryne Miller a message on Signal asking to get back in touch and “check things out”

On Friday, federal prosecutors requested that U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan modify the conditions of Sam Bankman-bail Fried’s to include a prohibition on private communications with current and former FTX and Alameda Research employees.

The DOJ request comes after Bankman-Fried allegedly attempted to influence the future witness testimony of at least one FTX employee, identified as Ryne Miller, the current general counsel for FTX US.

“I’d really like to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” Bankman-Fried is quoted as saying to Miller in the DOJ letter.

Prosecutors also asked Judge Kaplan not to allow Bankman-Fried to use “any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application, including but not limited to Signal.”

Prosecutors stated in their letter to the court that Bankman-Fried used the Signal app to contact Miller, as well as other current and former FTX employees – whom prosecutors described as “the very people who until recently were the defendant’s underlings whom he supervised and financially compensated, and who are thus most vulnerable to intimidation” – and ask to speak with them.

Prosecutors said Bankman-message Fried’s was a thinly disguised attempt to “influence [Miller’s] potential testimony,” which they called “particularly concerning” given Miller’s first-hand knowledge of Bankman-conduct Fried’s around the time of FTX’s demise.

“During the relevant events of November 2022, [Miller] participated in Signal and Slack communications with the defendant and a small group of company insiders,” prosecutors said. “Among other things, 

[Bankman-Fried] gave instructions for liquidating Alameda’s investments to satisfy FTX customer withdrawals, and indicated that he transferred approximately $45 million dollars of Alameda’s funds to FTX US to fill an apparent hole in FTX US’s balance sheet,” according to the report.

If true, the prosecutors’ claim would contradict Bankman-repeated Fried’s claims on social media and elsewhere that FTX US was solvent at the time the rest of his empire imploded.

Prosecutors also told Judge Kaplan that testimony from former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison revealed that Bankman-Fried used auto-deleting Slack and Signal messages for work communications because he knew “many legal cases turn on documentation and it is more difficult to build a legal case if the information is not written down or preserved.”

“In fact, the Government’s investigation has been hampered by the autodeletion of FTX and Alameda’s Slack and Signal communications,” the prosecutor said. “Potential witnesses have described relevant and incriminating conversations with the defendant that took place on Slack and Signal that have already been autodeleted because the defendant changed the settings,” the prosecutor said.


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