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Sam Bankman-Fried Should Be Cut Off From the Internet: Prosecutors

SBF keeps finding workarounds to his bail conditions, so prosecutors want to cut him off from the internet altogether.

Sam Bankman-Fried Should Be Cut Off From the Internet: Prosecutors
Photo: Lam Yik/Bloomberg

Key Takeaways

  • U.S. attorney Damian Williams wants Sam Bankman-Fried’s use of cellphones, tablets, computers, and the internet to be severely limited.
  • Bankman-Fried recently used a VPN on two occasions; he also used Signal to contact a former employee.
  • Williams argues that Bankman-Fried is too computer-savvy to be granted Internet access while on bail.

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Since he’s so willing to circumvent his bail conditions, Sam Bankman-Fried should be cut off entirely from the internet while he awaits trial, say prosecutors.

A Technologically Sophisticated Person

Prosecutors want to tighten Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions yet again.

United States Attorney Damian Williams submitted a letter yesterday to Judge Lewis Kaplan arguing that the court should limit Bankman-Fried’s use of cellphones, tablets, computers, and Internet while he awaits trial.

The request follows prosecutors’ discovery on February 13 that the disgraced crypto founder had used a virtual private network (VPN) on at least two occasions recently to access the internet. Bankman-Fried claimed that he’d only used a VPN to access his NFL Game Pass (which he had purchased in the Bahamas) to watch the AFC and NFC championship games on January 29, and the Super Bowl on February 12. Williams pointed out that Bankman-Fried didn’t need his Game Pass to watch the Super Bowl, since it aired on cable television. 

Williams also highlighted Bankman-Fried’s recent reaching out to FTX US general counsel Ryne Miller through encrypted messaging app Signal. On January 15 Bankman-Fried sent a message to Miller stating that he’d “really love 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.” 

Prosecutors claimed the message was a potential attempt at influencing a witness’ testimony, or even at intimidating Miller into not testifying against him. The court thereafter banned Bankman-Fried from using encrypted messaging apps or reaching out to former employees without a lawyer being present.

However, Williams argued in his letter yesterday that Bankman-Fried was a “technologically sophisticated person with both the ability and the inclination to seek workarounds” to his bail conditions, and that only banning him from accessing the internet altogether—except for matters regarding his case—would prevent further witness tampering. He also stated that Bankman-Fried’s use of a VPN indicated that he could have been responsible for illegally moving over $800,000 in funds associated with Alameda Research back in December.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned BTC, ETH, and several other crypto assets.

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