Federal prosecutors asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss five charges against alleged crypto fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, including bribery of a foreign government official after a Bahamas court ruling raised questions about whether the US government followed the proper procedure in charging the former billionaire.
The legal team of Bankman-Fried had previously claimed in front of both US and Bahamian judges that the accusations were not included in the FTX founder's initial indictment, under which he was extradited from the Bahamas months earlier. A Bahamian judge announced earlier this week that he would evaluate Bankman-Fried's claims, triggering the request from federal prosecutors.
The charges, however, have only been “severed,” or postponed until 2024, allowing the federal government plenty of time to guarantee that the terms of the US-Bahamas extradition treaty have been followed, as well as to satisfy the Bahamas government's worries.
Bankman=Fried's team will now have to prepare for two judicial battles: one to trial the original eight-count indictment later this year, and another in 2024, for the five charges that federal prosecutors have requested to remove.
Bankman-Fried is being prosecuted by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams' office. He was originally indicted with eight charges, including conspiracy to conduct mail and wire fraud, for his alleged participation in the loss of billions of dollars in client funds and the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX in late 2022.
Bankman-Fried has filed a not-guilty plea and will be tried later this year.