The disgraced former cryptocurrency executive Sam Bankman-Fried was granted release from federal custody on Thursday in a Manhattan court with extremely stringent bail requirements, including a $250 million bond secured by his parents’ interest in their California home and a requirement that he remain in home detention with them.
After being brought from the Bahamas to the U.S. on Wednesday, the former crypto wunderkind made his first appearance in court. Earlier this month, Bankman-Fried was detained on suspicion of wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and other financial offences.
On Wednesday, the Manhattan U.S. attorney revealed that two of Bankman-closest Fried’s business partners had also been accused and had quietly entered plea deals.
Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX, and Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Bankman-trading Fried’s company Alameda Research, pleaded guilty to counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud.
In a video statement, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated that both parties were cooperating with investigators and had consented to help with any prosecution. He cautioned those who encouraged the alleged fraud to go public.
“If you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it,” he said. “We are moving quickly, and our patience is not eternal.”
Bankman-Fried stated in a series of interviews before to his arrest that he made mistakes while running FTX and Alameda but that he never intended to defraud anybody.
Bankman-Fried is charged with stealing money from FTX clients to facilitate trades at Alameda, overspend on real estate, and donate millions of dollars to political candidates in the US.
One of the biggest digital currency exchanges in the world, FTX was founded in 2019 and rode the crypto investment to new heights. It paid writer and performer Larry David to participate in a Super Bowl commercial pushing cryptocurrencies as the next big thing in order to attract customers outside of the IT business.
However, Bankman-crypto Fried’s empire abruptly came to an end in early November when clients withdrew their money in large numbers as a result of revelations casting doubt on certain of its financial arrangements.