Abstract：SBF allegedly used a Signal communication to influence FTX executive Ryne Miller.
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has denied trying to sway a possible witness. Previously, government officials suggested that Bankman-Fried sought to do so and demanded communication limitations in a court filing on Jan. 27.
SBF tried to contact FTX US General Counsel
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Damian Williams, accused Bankman-Fried of contacting a witness on January 15 via the encrypted messaging app Signal.
The message's intended recipient, according to Williams, was the General Counsel for FTX US. Though the recipient is not officially identified, it is assumed that the individual in question is Ryne Miller, who has held that role since 2021. Williams stated that Miller could testify at trial and that Bankman-Fried attempted to influence Miller's testimony.
Bankman-Fried responded to Miller on January 15:
“I'd really like to reconnect and see if we can have a constructive connection, use one other as resources when possible, or at the very least vet things with each other.”
Miller, according to Williams, possesses knowledge that might incriminate Bankman-Fried. Miller, for example, was present at FTX at the time of its demise and engaged in online company groups on apps like Signal and Slack. Bankman-Fried allegedly encouraged employees to transfer monies and revealed specifics of his operations there.
Williams requested that the court impose two limits. First, he stated that unless exempted, Bankman-Fried should be prohibited from communicating with persons employed by FTX and Alameda Research. Second, Williams stated that Bankman-Fried should not be allowed to use encrypted and self-deleting communication apps such as Signal.
Williams stated in the petition that Bankman-Fried communicated with other FTX associates via Signal and that the former CEO has a “history of using the service for obstructive purposes.” Furthermore, Williams noted that Signal's autodeletion feature has already hampered investigations, and that Bankman-Fried has already admitted to arranging messages to delete after 30 days or fewer.
Bankman-Fried will be able to communicate with others via regular channels such as phone, text, and email despite the imposed limits.
Bankman-Fried denies allegations
Bankman-Fried has since denied attempting to influence Miller, and his legal counsel has stated that the allegations portray him in the “worst conceivable light.”
Bankman-legal Fried's team stated in a Jan. 28 document that his attempts to reach Miller were an attempt to give assistance in FTX's bankruptcy case. That case is being handled independently of Bankman-criminal Fried's proceedings.
The team proposed an alternative restriction: Bankman-Fried should be completely barred from interacting with certain individuals but should be able to communicate with others regardless of the messaging app used.
The legal team further stated that Bankman-Fried did not have Signal's auto-deletion option enabled for the relevant message and that an email copy was delivered. Miller did not respond to the message, according to the report.
Bankman-legal Fried's team also questioned the timeliness of the government's request, implying that the late Friday submission was intended to avoid a response from Bankman-representation. Fried's The team did, however, disclose Bankman-previous Fried's conversations with FTX's successor CEO, John Ray III, as well as their objections to those communications.
Judge Lewis Kaplan has yet to rule on whether the requested limits should be imposed. However, Kaplan stated that neither party had delivered the appropriate information to the court and that the government should file such messages by January 30.
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