FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried charged with fraud, money laundering

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The House Financial Services Committee is holding a hearing Tuesday morning on the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX following the Monday night arrest of founder Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas.

The Justice Department and Bahamian authorities said Bankman-Fried, who was due to testify before the panel, was arrested based on a sealed US indictment that was unsealed shortly after the hearing began.

The U.S. Attorney̵[ads1]7;s Office for the Southern District of New York charged the disgraced crypto leader with eight criminal counts: conspiracy to commit wire and securities fraud, individual counts of securities fraud and wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to evade campaign finance regulations.

John J. Ray, the company’s new CEO, is the panel’s only witness. The company imploded and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month after allegedly transferring billions of dollars in FTX client funds to Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also charged the former crypto “darling” on Tuesday morning with allegedly “orchestrating a scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX Trading,” according to the agency.

The Senate Banking Committee had also asked Bankman-Fried to testify in a Wednesday hearing that he previously refused to participate.

Before the company’s implosion, Bankman-Fried donated nearly $40 million to candidates, campaigns and political action committees in the 2022 congressional elections, with most of his publicly disclosed contributions to Democrats. Ryan Salame, co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, donated another $23 million, with the majority of his contributions going toward Republicans.

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