Sam Bankman-Fried used the money he stole from customers of his cryptocurrency exchange FTX to make political campaign contributions of more than $100 million before the 2022 US midterm elections, writes Reuters citing a statement by federal prosecutors.
In the new indictment, the 31-year-old former billionaire is accused of ordering two FTX executives to evade contribution limits by donating to Democrats and Republicans, and of concealing where the money came from.
“He leveraged this influence, in turn, to lobby Congress and regulatory agencies to support legislation and regulation he believed would make it easier for FTX to continue to accept customer deposits and grow,” the indictment said.
The banker faces seven counts of conspiracy and fraud in connection with the FTX collapse, although the indictment no longer includes a separate count of conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.
Last month, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said they would drop the charge after the Bahamas, where FTX was based and where Benkman-Fried was arrested in December 2022, said they never intended to extradite him on the charge.
Earlier, Benkman-Fried pleaded not guilty to stealing billions of dollars of FTX clients’ funds to cover the losses of his cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Bankman-Fried took advantage of the cryptocurrency boom to amass a fortune once estimated at $26 billion and became an influential donor to mostly Democratic candidates and organizations.
The collapse of FTX in November 2022 after a flurry of customer withdrawals wiped out its fortunes and tarnished its reputation.