FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried requested to be allowed a flip-phone
Lawyers and attorneys for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried are requesting that the disgraced cryptocurrency entrepreneur be allowed a flip-phone or other device that is not a smartphone while on bail.
The proposal, presented in a letter Friday, comes as the judge in the case is deciding how to tighten Bankman-Fried’s bail requirements, amid concerns the ex-billionaire used such methods to communicate on electronic devices. which cannot be detected.
Prosecutors alleged last month that Bankman-Fried used a virtual private network that prevents third parties from tracking online activity, known as a VPN, to access the Internet twice. They also said he sent an encrypted message to FTX US’s general counsel over the Signal texting app in January, a move they argued could indicate witness tampering.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges of defrauding investors and looting customer deposits on his cryptocurrency platform, FTX.
Judge Louis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing the case, has raised the possibility that Bankman-Fried could be jailed if her communications cannot be monitored to ensure the integrity of the trial. The former FTX chief was released on $250 million bond in December and is confined to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California.
Under the proposal, Bankman-Fried’s phone functions would be limited to SMS text messages and voice calls. He will also be given a new laptop with limited access, which will be “configured to be able to log on to the Internet only through the use of specified VPNs,” which will only allow access to websites that have been whitelisted. They include sites he can use to prepare for his defense, such as Ftx.com, and those for personal news, such as The New York Times and Netflix.
In the letter, both sides said Bankman-Fried would be allowed access to several applications to prepare for her defense, including Zoom, Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat. The parties also proposed installing a monitoring software on the device to track any activity, and asked Bankman-Fried’s parents to submit affidavits stating that they would “not bring additional devices into the home” or their own. Will not allow access to password-protected devices.
Kaplan has yet to decide whether to approve the proposal.