Federal prosecutors are dropping campaign finance violation charges against alleged crypto crook Sam Bankman-Fried over a legal snafu in his extradition from the Bahamas to the US.
The feds moved to dismiss one count of conspiracy to make unlawful campaign contributions against Bankman-Fried, 31, after the Caribbean country clarified that it “did not intent to extradite” him on that charge, according to a letter filed by prosecutors in Manhattan federal court late Wednesday.
Under the US’ extradition treaty with the Bahamas, the island nation must consent to the charges against Bankman-Fried, a major donor in the 2022 midterm elections.
“Accordingly, in keeping with its treaty obligations to The Bahamas, the Government does not intend to proceed to trial on the campaign contributions count,” the letter states.
The now-dropped charge alleged that Bankman-Fried and his cohorts used tens of millions of dollars in FTX funds to illegally make over 300 donations to curry favor with candidates who could pass laws that would help his company.
Bankman-Fried — who is accused of stealing from customers of his now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange — still faces 12 other charges in the case, though five more of the counts are still in question because they were added after he was extradited.
The Bahamas must also consent to the counts that were added after Bankman-Fried was sent back to the US. A judge ruled last month that trial will proceed in October on the original charges, and a separate proceeding was set for March 2024 on the charges that are up in the air.
Bankman-Fried is on home detention at his family’s house in California on $250 million bond as he awaits trial.
Separately on Wednesday, prosecutors asked a judge to jail Bankman-Fried claiming he engaged in witness tampering by giving a New York Times reporter the personal writings of his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison — who is slated to be a key witness against him at trial.
The judge issued a temporary gag order and let Bankman-Fried remain free while he considers the request.
The US Attorney’s Office and a rep for Bankman-Fried both declined to comment Thursday.