Defense lawyers for Sam Bankman-Fried allege that U.S. authorities overstepped the mark in prosecuting the former FTX CEO, arguing that regulatory infractions should not be prosecuted as federal crimes.
SBF lawyers say charges are not federal crimes
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on Dec. 12, 2022, following the collapse of FTX approximately four weeks prior. Prosecutors charged the former CEO with eight counts, including conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud on customers and lenders, commodities and security fraud, and separate wire fraud on customers and lenders.
As the case unfolded and more details emerged, he was later charged with an additional five federal indictments, including bribing Chinese officials and violating campaign finance laws regarding political donations, bringing the total charges against him to thirteen.
However, federal court papers filed on May 29 show Bankman-Fried’s defense lawyers sought to dismiss the case because their client’s actions were regulatory issues rather than federal crimes, per the Washington Post.
Furthermore, Bankman-Fried’s team argued that the initial eight charges filed in December 2022 were “too vague and non-specific” to constitute going to trial and that the later additional charges were void because the charges were not approved by the Bahamas at the time of extradition.
Prosecutors call defense motions meritless
In a nearly 100-page filing, prosecutors called the defense team’s motions “meritless,” maintaining that the charges against him are federal crimes.
“The charges track the relevant statutes and the defendant’s alleged misconduct falls within the heartland of what these statutes prohibit.”
A separate court filing by prosecutors addressed the defense team’s point on extradition rules baring the later charges. It stated that the treaty agreement between the U.S. and the Bahamas does not limit new offenses after extradition.
“The treaty expressly reflects only an agreement between the two countries that the extradited person will not be “detained, tried, or punished” without the consent of the executive authority of the extraditing country.”
As such, according to the treaty agreement between the two countries, “new charges cannot violate the rule of specialty.”
The trial is expected to take place in the fall.
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