Prosecutors and lawyers for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried are asking the disgraced cryptocurrency trader to allow a flip-phone or other non-smartphone device while on bail
Prosecutors and lawyers for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried are asking the disgraced cryptocurrency trader to allow a flip-phone or other non-smartphone device while on bail.
The proposal, submitted in a letter Friday, comes as the judge in the case decides how to strengthen Bankman-Fried’s bail requirements amid concerns that the former billionaire may have been communicating on electronic devices. in ways that cannot be traced.
Prosecutors alleged last month that Bankman-Fried used a virtual private network that blocks third parties from viewing online activity, known as a VPN, to access the internet twice. They also said he sent an encrypted message on the Signal texting app in January to FTX US’s general counsel, a move they argued could indicate witness tampering.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges that he defrauded investors and stole customer deposits on FTX, his cryptocurrency platform.
Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who presided over the case, raised the possibility that Bankman-Fried could be jailed if her communications are not monitored to ensure the integrity of the trial. The former head of FTX was released on a $250 million bond in December and is at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California.
Under the proposal, Bankman-Fried’s phone functions would be limited to SMS text messages and voice calls. He will also be given a new limited-use laptop, which will be “configured so that he can only log on to the internet by using specific VPNs,” which will only allow access to websites that are already -whitelist. These include sites he can use to prepare his defense, such as Ftx.com, and those for personal news, such as The New York Times and Netflix.
In the letter, both sides said Bankman-Fried will also be allowed access to several applications to prepare her defense, including Zoom, Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat. The parties also proposed a monitoring software be installed on the device to track any activity, and have Bankman-Fried’s parents submit sworn affidavits that “they will not carry additional devices at home” or allow access to their own password-protected devices.
Kaplan still has to decide whether to approve the proposal.