The former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), is facing new bail conditions proposed by the United States Department of Justice. The proposal was submitted to District Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York, and includes a prohibition on using smartphones, tablets, computers, or any video game platforms or devices that allow chat and voice communication. Instead, Bankman-Fried’s communication would be restricted to a “flip phone or other non-smartphone with either no internet capabilities or internet capabilities disabled.”
The proposal was reportedly negotiated with Bankman-Fried’s defense team, who requested to submit a proposal by March 3. It also requests that the temporary bail conditions recently imposed should be made permanent. These temporary conditions include a ban on contact or communication with current or former employees of FTX or Alameda Research, except in the presence of counsel, and a prohibition on using any encrypted or ephemeral call or messaging application, as well as a VPN.
In addition, the proposal notes that Bankman-Fried’s laptop would be monitored by security software that will log his online activity. The proposal also states that Bankman-Fried will not object to the installation of court-authorized pen registers on his phone number, Gmail account, and internet service, which will be sought by the government and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail has been under scrutiny since February 9, after he was found to have contacted potential witnesses on his case. He was also temporarily banned from using a VPN after prosecutors accused him of using it on two occasions, on January 29 and February 12.
The court unsealed a superseding indictment against Bankman-Fried on February 22, which contains 12 criminal counts, including eight conspiracy charges related to fraud as well as four charges of wire fraud and securities fraud. Bankman-Fried has not yet entered a plea in the case.
The proposed bail conditions are likely an attempt to prevent Bankman-Fried from potentially tampering with witnesses or committing further crimes while awaiting trial. The case against him is still ongoing, and it remains to be seen how the court will ultimately rule on the proposed conditions.