Sam Bankman-Fried is pleading not guilty to a new set of charges as the former crypto tycoon faces the possibility of spending decades in jail.
Federal prosecutors alleged in a new indictment unsealed on Tuesday that the founder of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX paid out $40 million in cryptocurrency to induce Chinese government officials to unfreeze the trading accounts of Alameda Research.
The accounts, which contained more than $1 billion in crypto assets, were frozen in early 2021 as China investigated an Alameda counterparty.
Reuters reports that Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to the bribery charge at a hearing before District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan federal court on Thursday.
The 31-year-old also entered a not guilty plea for charges accusing him of violating campaign finance laws.
In February, prosecutors hit Bankman-Fried with additional charges alleging that he conspired to make illegal political donations so legislators will pass laws that are favorable to his company.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, says he plans to contest the campaign finance and China-related charges by the May 8 deadline because these were filed after his client was extradited from the Bahamas.
The extradition treaty provides that Bankman-Fried may only be tried and punished for the cases that he faced at the time of the extradition unless the Bahamian government allows the new charges.
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