The United States Department of Justice’s decision not to pursue a second trial against Sam Bankman-Fried is sparking protests in the crypto scene. In a letter filed late on Dec. 29, prosecutors argued that the strong public interest in the case required a “prompt resolution of this matter.”
The decision means Bankman-Fried will not face additional charges over conspiracy to make unlawful campaign contributions. "Saying much more evidence that would be offered in a second trial was already offered in the first trial and can be considered by the Court at the defendant’s March 2024 sentencing," reads the document.
Among crypto enthusiasts, however, the strategy has been widely criticized. Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal classified the announcement as a "miscarriage of justice," noting that:
"The public interest in a public airing of charges almost always matters. Campaign finance charges are at the very top of this list. What politicians and others knew what and when are critical questions that deserve answers."
Simon Dixon, co-founder of the online investment platform BnkToTheFuture.com, commented that the decision also prevents U.S. politicians from facing further scrutiny regarding campaign contributions and clawbacks during the 2024 election season.
#SBF Sam Bankman-Fried lost $8bn of #FTX client money.— Simon Dixon (@SimonDixonTwitt) December 30, 2023
He donated $100m in stolen customer funds to US politicians.
The US Government are prosecuting his fraud, but dropping his political campaign finance violations & likely won’t clawback the politicians for victims.
Bankman-Fried acknowledged that he was a “significant donor” to both sides of the political spectrum ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. According to court filings, he donated over $100 million to politicians.
During his trial in October, he said the donations made in his name came from loans from Alameda Research — FTX's sister company — as part of efforts to influence the U.S. government’s policies on regulating cryptocurrencies. Prior to the collapse of FTX in November 2022, Bankman-Fried anticipated making $1 billion in political donations by 2024.
It's quite convenient that one of the charges they are dropping against SBF is the one of campaign finance violations.— Coin Bureau (@coinbureau) December 30, 2023
I wonder why?
Besides political donations, Bankman-Fried has also been cleared of allegations of engaging in conspiracy to bribe Chinese officials. According to prosecutors, a second trial would not affect the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range for him.
Bankman-Fried was found guilty of all seven fraud charges by a jury in his criminal trial over counts of wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, commodities fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28, 2024, facing a maximum of 115 years in prison.
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