Notorious cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried has been released on a $250m (£208m) bond package as he awaits fraud charges – the largest pre-trial bond in history.
The bond was signed by his parents, who agreed to keep him under house arrest in their Palo Alto, California, home while he awaits trial.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused him of stealing billions of dollars from clients to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Over the course of a month, Bankman-Fried’s Star-studded £21bn cryptocurrency empire crumbles he already Accused of defrauding investors in the US.
FTX was once one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world with a market value of $32 billion, but it finally filed for bankruptcy protection in just three days.
Bankman-Fried witnessed a spectacular implosion – almost a full month later – saw him arrested in the bahamas.
He was not asked to enter a plea on Thursday. He previously acknowledged FTX’s risk management failures, but said he does not consider himself criminally responsible.
His defense attorney, Mark Cohen, declined to comment after the hearing in Manhattan federal court.
His arrest in the Bahamas, where he lives and where FTX is headquartered, further exacerbated the one-time billionaire’s fall from grace.
Cohen said he agreed to the bail conditions proposed by prosecutors.
He noted that his parents — both professors at Stanford Law School — would co-sign the bond and put the equity in their
Going home as a guarantee for Bankman-Fried’s return to court.
“My client stayed put, he had no intention of running away,” Cohen said.
After being reunited with his parents and lawyers inside the courtroom, a seemingly reticent Bankman-Fried shook hands with a supporter before heading out the door as photographers and camera crews rushed to him until he drove off in his car.
Bankman-Fried, wearing a gray suit and leg restraints, sat on either side of the lawyer and nodded when the judge informed him that a warrant would be issued for his arrest if he did not appear in court.
He spoke only when Gorenstein asked him if he understood the conditions of his release, and that if he did not appear in court, he could be charged with other crimes.
“Yes, I know,” Bankman-Fried replied.
His next court date is set for January 3, 2023. Bankman-Fried also faces electronic surveillance and an injunction from opening new credit lines or businesses.
He said Bankman-Fried had become “so notorious that it was impossible for him” to hide without being identified or involved in further financial schemes.
Until his “last $100,000”
Concerns about commingling funds between FTX and Bankman-Fried’s hedge funds first surfaced in November and led to massive withdrawals from clients.
On Nov. 11, the former “cryptocurrency king,” as he is dubbed by many media outlets, said his fortune had dropped to the last $100,000.
Hours after Bankman-Fried’s plane took off from the Bahamas, top U.S. Attorney Damian Williams
Manhattan announced that two of Bankman-Fried’s closest associates — former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang — have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors.