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Major media want to know who guaranteed Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bond

Eight major media outlets on Thursday asked the U.S. judge overseeing Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal case to make public the names of two people who helped guarantee the FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder’s $250 million bond.

January 13, 2023
By Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen
13 January 2023

By Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen

NEW YORK, Jan 12 (Reuters) – Eight major media outlets
on Thursday asked the U.S. judge overseeing Sam Bankman-Fried’s
criminal case to make public the names of two people who helped
guarantee the FTX cryptocurrency exchange founder’s $250 million
bond.

Saying the public interest “cannot be overstated,” lawyers
for the outlets, including Reuters, said the public’s right to
know Bankman-Fried’s guarantors outweighed their privacy and
safety rights.

In a letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in
Manhattan, the lawyers distinguished the case from another
judge’s December 2020 decision not to reveal who guaranteed a
bond for British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, then accused and
later convicted of aiding in financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sex
crimes.

“While Mr. Bankman-Fried is accused of serious financial
crimes, a public association with him does not carry nearly the
same stigma as with the Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking
scandal,” lawyers for the outlets wrote.

Media seeking to identify Bankman-Fried’s sureties also
include the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, Wall Street
Journal publisher Dow Jones, the Financial Times, Insider and
the Washington Post. The New York Times has asked separately for
the names.

A spokesman for Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, who
represent Bankman-Fried, declined to comment. Cohen and Everdell
also represented Maxwell in her criminal case.

In seeking to keep the sureties’ names under wraps,
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said their client’s parents, who
co-signed the $250 million bond, had been harassed and received
physical threats since FTX’s early November collapse and
bankruptcy.

The lawyers said there was “serious cause for concern” the
additional sureties might suffer similar treatment if their
names went public.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges
that he looted billions of dollars at FTX, in part by diverting
customer deposits to support his Alameda Research hedge fund,
buy real estate, and make political donations.

His parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, are Stanford
Law School professors. Bankman, who has not been accused of
wrongdoing, has hired his own lawyer in the case, according to a
person familiar with the matter.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Luc Cohen in New York;
editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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