Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, was already prohibited from communicating electronically; his attorneys requested that he be permitted to do so once more. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of the Southern District of New York District Court received the request in a letter after prosecutors said Bankman-Fried may have tampered with witnesses.
Bankman-Fried’s legal representatives claim they won’t challenge the injunction prohibiting him from moving assets connected to FTX and Alameda Research in return for enabling him to have monitored communication.
In a four-page document, federal prosecutors said that the former millionaire, who is currently facing life in prison on fraud and conspiracy-related charges, attempted to get in touch with Ryne Miller, the general counsel for FTX US, using the Signal encrypted messaging app.
“I would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other,” U.S. prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried wrote.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, Mark S. Cohen and Christian R. Everdell, claim that after the government excused particular people from the proposed no-contact requirement, an agreement was made about Bankman-Fried’s bail terms.
The lawyer for Bankman-Fried requested that the judge provide access to FaceTime, iMessage, Zoom, SMS messages, email, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
“The defendant shall be permitted to use WhatsApp only if monitoring technology is installed on his cellphone that automatically logs and preserves all WhatsApp communications,” the letter said.
Bankman-Fried was specifically told not to use any encrypted or “ephemeral” call or message program, including but not limited to Signal, in the initial order prohibiting his use of messaging applications.
Users using ephemeral messaging apps can choose a time restriction for how long a message will remain on the app.
For instance, Signal allows preset time limitations ranging from 30 seconds to four weeks.
While the functionality may be exploited for evil, journalists and activists also use it to communicate while reducing the possibility that rogue regimes will be able to intercept their communications.
Bankman-Fried was detained in the Bahamas on December 12, 2022, and was extradited to the US a week later. Bankman-Fried has been accused of eight charges of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy by the US Department of Justice.