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US prosecutors say SBF will be tried on original 8 criminal charges — for now

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The criminal trial of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried will only be going ahead with the eight charges he was originally pinned for by United States prosecutors, at least for now.

In a June 14 court filing, prosecutors with the Department of Justice (DOJ) wrote a letter to District Judge Lewis Kaplan saying they would proceed to try Bankman-Fried on the eight charges they unveiled against him in December 2022.

The DOJ lawyers cited a motion filed by Bankman-Fried in The Bahamas, who argued that many of the 13 charges he faced were not in the original indictment that had been the basis for his extradition from the country. As this is likely to be a lengthy process, the prosecutors wrote, they’re “prepared to proceed to trial as scheduled on the counts contained in the original Indictment.”

“It now appears that litigation of that motion will take some time and may not be resolved until near or even after the trial date.”

The Supreme Court of The Bahamas said June 14 that Bankman-Fried must be given the opportunity to formally challenge the new charges before the country can agree to them.

Following Bankman-Fried’s extradition the DOJ unsealed an additional four charges in February relating to fraud and fraud conspiracy charges along with an additional charge in March alleging bribes to Chinese officials. 

Related: SBF seeks to sever new charges from trial, says proceedings may take ‘years’

Bankman-Fried is the founder and former CEO of crypto exchange FTX. He was originally charged in December in connection with his management of the failed exchange. The exchange suffered a liquidity crisis in November, leading to its bankruptcy shortly thereafter.

FTX is estimated to owe creditors over $3 billion. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried commingled customer funds and misled investors about FTX’s risk management practices, leading to losses for investors and customers.

Caroline Ellison, former CEO of sister company Alameda Research, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have both pleaded guilty to fraud charges in connection with the exchange’s collapse. However, Bankman-Fried has claimed that management mistakes and not fraud caused the collapse.