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Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, returned to the US and was given a $250 million bond before being placed under house arrest

NEW YORK (Associated Press) — After his parents agreed to sign a $250 million bond and keep him at their California home while he awaits trial on charges that he swindled investors and looted customer deposits on his FTX trading platform, cryptocurrency entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried walked out of a Manhattan courthouse with them on Thursday.

Sam Bankman-Fried, who is being held on charges of “perpetrating a scam of epic proportions,” was returned to his parents and will be placed under house arrest until trial in exchange for a $250 million bail. SBF faces a life sentence in prison if he is found guilty. Source of Photo: Associated Press

Bankman-Fried,30, “perpetrated a scam of epic dimensions,” according to Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos in federal court. Roos suggested stringent bail conditions, including the $250 million bond and house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto. He claimed this was the biggest federal pretrial ever ever.

Roos explained that the main reason Bankman-Fried, who had been imprisoned in the Bahamas, was granted bail was because he had agreed to be extradited to the US.

When Bankman-Fried was finally reunited with his parents and attorneys inside the courthouse, he shook hands with a supporter and then walked out, where he was surrounded by cameras and news teams until he was finally able to get into a car and drive away.

The bond and house arrest were approved by Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein; however, Bankman-Fried was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet at all times. Roos suggested that it be fastened in California this coming Friday.

Bankman-Fried walked into the courtroom in a suit and tie while cuffed at the ankles to take a seat between his lawyers. During the hearing, he only spoke when directly addressed by the court. Gorenstein questioned him at the end whether he realised he’d be arrested and responsible for $250 million if he ran.

Indeed, Bankman-Fried said that he did.

The hearing concluded shortly after, and two US marshals escorted Bankman-Fried out of the room, his hands in the front pockets of his jeans. He is due back in front of the presiding judge on January 3 for his next court hearing.

In addition, he is prohibited under the terms of his bail from establishing any new credit lines, beginning any new businesses, or engaging in any financial transactions over $1,000.

Roos stated that his parents’ home equity, together with the signatures of two other reputable individuals who also possessed substantial assets, would serve as collateral for the bond. Personal recognisance bonds do not require security in the full amount of the bail.

On Wednesday night, after initially contesting his extradition, Bankman-Fried was transported from the Bahamas to New York.

While in the air, the Manhattan US attorney revealed that two of Bankman-closest Fried’s business acquaintances had been accused and had discreetly pled guilty the previous Monday.

Gary Wang, 29, who co-founded FTX with Carolyn Ellison, 28, pled guilty to wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud. Alameda Research, which was owned by Bankman-Fried, had previously fired Ellison for a series of misconduct allegations.

In a video message, US Attorney Damian Williams claimed that both were helping investigators and would cooperate with any prosecution. He cautioned anybody who may have helped facilitate the suspected scam.

He advised anyone who had been involved in wrongdoing at FTX or Alameda to “get ahead of it” immediately. We are making rapid progress, and the length of our patience is limited.

Prosecutors and regulators allege that Bankman-Fried was central to a number of fraudulent operations to launder money stolen from customers and investors. If found guilty on all counts, he may spend decades in jail.

Bankman-Fried insisted he had no ill will against anyone in a series of interviews given before to his detention.

Bankman-Fried is accused of utilising money stolen from FTX clients to finance transactions at Alameda, lavishly invest in real estate, and give millions to political candidates in the United States.

Founded in 2019, FTX has swiftly risen to prominence as one of the world’s leading digital currency exchanges, riding the wave of investor interest in cryptocurrencies to success. In an effort to reach clients outside of the computer industry, it enlisted the help of comedian and writer Larry David for a Super Bowl commercial.

But in early November, when clients withdrawn deposits in masse in response to stories questioning aspects of Bankman-financial Fried’s procedures, the empire crumbled suddenly.