back to article Crypto-crook Sam Bankman-Fried spared a second trial

US prosecutors do not plan to proceed with a second trial of convicted and imprisoned crypto-villain Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), according to a Southern District of New York court letter filed on December 29. The prosecutors reasoned that much of the evidence that would be submitted had already been considered in his October …

  1. Claverhouse Silver badge

    I have little interest in the Fried Affaire one way or another; and think him rather hard done by, considering this was all non-violent [ admittedly I equally have no sympathy for Crypto maniacs ], but I think many convicts would be jealous of trials being quashed for expediency's sake.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course, it also depends on whom you donated to whether or not things are allowed to come to light ....

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "whom you donated to"

        Best to donate to everyone, just ot be sure.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Best to donate to everyone, just ot be sure.

          Which he did. His donations to democratic causes and candidates were public. As shown in the evidence released during his trial, he hid his donations to republican causes and candidates. Using what turned out to be customer money to make campaign contributions is a big no no, but if anything was going to come out in trial that would make people uncomfortable it is more likely that would be on the republican donation side, since (other than what was directly referenced in the evidence used against him) not all of that is publicly known.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            There are public donations to republicans but they are all establishment uniparty types. There is no way he would support a true conservative given his upbringing.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              He was all consumed with his goal of becoming as rich as possible. He would happily simultaneously donate to Mother Teresa and Hitler if he felt it served that goal.

        2. TReko

          Here's who SBF donated to

          from https://www.opensecrets.org

          Sam Bankman-Fried FTX.US Washington, DC

          Democrats $37,650,390

          Republicans $286,700

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Given that he's yet to be sentenced, I'm wondering what on earth you are talking about when saying that you "think him rather hard done by"!

      And given that additional charges - if leading to being found guilty - would quite possibly only have led to additional concurrent sentences, I don't believe many convicts would care one way or the other. It's really immaterial whether you serve 20 years for 8 crimes, or 20 years for 9.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Remember that we are talking about a country where a rich kid can kill 4 people and get probation.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_Couch

      2. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Not really, but I needed an excuse to use that headline anyway

        > Given that he's yet to be sentenced

        It's been reported in the past few minutes that the judge sentenced him to death by electric chair with immediate effect:-

        "Bankman Bankman-Fried Fried"

      3. renniks

        Running concurrently? Boo!

  2. Johannesburgel12

    So the trial everybody was actually waiting for, the one which would have brought the President of the Bahamas, US politicians etc. to the witness stand, now doesn't happen? I'm shocked!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm also shocked! Truly I am! Well, not that shocked as cos you say this is the trial that would have really dug up some interesting stuff and now we will miss out on that. This is the guy that Maxine Waters blew a kiss too!

      Sadly, knowing the US two tier justice system I would not be surprised to discover that he will get a sweetheart deal soon.

    2. Kurgan

      Me too. It's incredibly convenient for the bribed politicians, don't you think?

  3. Zibob Bronze badge
    Joke

    Hold up, hold up....

    Are they saying all you have to do to is make a big enough, messy enough, complex enough crime that they will get bored by the amount of time and effort it will take them and just let you off?

    Huh. Maybe crime has been too small time and needs to step it up.

    1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Hold up, hold up....

      The key factors are giving bribes and making illegal campaign contributions. If anyone is ever found guilty of such crimes it suggests somebody else could possibly be accused of receiving bribes or illegal campaign contributions. Such a possibility could never be tolerated. Imagine what might happen if voters found out. If by some confluence of unlikely events a trial actually got as far as a verdict the money might have to be returned.

      People in power have strong motives to find and create complications - starting by politely asking the government of the Bahamas to miss one of the charges off the extradition order. It is astonishing that the charge was included in the extradition request paperwork to begin with.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hold up, hold up....

        A bit like if the names of all the people who'd been on a certain plane to a certain island owned by a certain now dead person got released :)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Hold up, hold up....

        "the money might have to be returned"

        There is precedent for this. You have to go back to the events of 1997.

    2. FIA Silver badge

      Re: Hold up, hold up....

      It seems odd.

      However, even though the campaign finance charge was not pursued, it could be considered relevant in sentencing matters, wrote the attorneys in their filing.

      So, you're not going to charge him with it, but you may sentence him for it?

      1. tyrfing

        Re: Hold up, hold up....

        They're talking about "aggravating factors" in determining sentence.

        Many factors can go into sentencing that are not crimes one is tried for. For example, whether he now convincingly shows remorse (doesn't seem like it).

        Some of these are fairly stupid: for instance I wouldn't allow "victim impact statements". But one can reasonably argue about them.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    WTF?

    "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

    That alone is a clear sign of how badly managed funny money is. I seriously doubt that there is any honest crypto scheme that could possibly build up to that amount of money.

    Of course, I seriously doubt that there is any honest crypto scheme, but that is another matter . . .

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

      One of the worst parts is the 'stable coins' supposedly backed by real money, that backing being, i have 'loaned' $20bln to a company, creating new coins, that coin is now backed by the loan itself (so no money). So now an additional $20bln can be bought of say bitcoin with 'real' money. Bitcoin and other are bought using this 'money' with leveraged accounts, so you can multiply that input of 'money' by 3 to 10 times what was loaned, pumping the price up even more.

      Funny how every time there is a large increase in the price of bitcoin, a few weeks earlier there is a large amount of stable coins being created also when the prices started to fall more large amounts are created in an attempt to prop it up, coins like tether.

      1. Gob Smacked

        Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

        "Funny how every time there is a large increase in the price of bitcoin, a few weeks earlier there is a large amount of stable coins being created also when the prices started to fall more large amounts are created in an attempt to prop it up, coins like tether."

        AC, so no hope to actually see this in a nice graph, but could you show that please? Would indeed be funny, because bitcoin is totally unrelated to stable coins like tether...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

          Bitcoin is unrelated to stable coins, really. Just like it's unheated to any other currency, for example usd, which tether is pegged against. Tether, aka usdt, is a replacement for usd, allowing the transfer of usd between exchanged avoiding banking transfers and the time delays and scrutiny that comes with large transfers. So sure, if usd and any other currency that is used to purchase bitcoin and other crypto has nothing to do with it and setting its price, sure, neither does tether.

          1. GBE

            Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

            Bitcoin is unrelated to stable coins, really. Just like it's unheated to any other currency,

            If it's unheated, does that make it cold cash?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

              Correct :)

              Autocorrect

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

          Want some evaluation of 'printing' of tether against price of btc, sure, http://www.tetherreport.com/

          1. Gob Smacked

            Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

            Hey hey. Can't distinguish one AC from the other, but let's say this is an actual answer. It's a nice piece of analysis, I give you that. It just falls short where it forgets liquidity in the BTC market. That's actually very low. Most BTC is illiquid, used for actual transactions (it's money) or tightly held in storage with the owners. As soon as fresh dollars enter the market, they need to take market prices or fail to buy. That's the reason the price goes up. Nothing bad going on, it's just the market working.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

          Some more https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jofi.12903

      2. Daniel Pfeiffer

        Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

        <blockquote>One of the worst parts is the 'stable coins' supposedly backed by real money, that backing being, i have 'loaned' $20bln to a company, creating new coins, that coin is now backed by the loan itself (so no money).</blockquote>

        You mean just like “real” money? AFAIK, in the EU, when banks give out a loan, they have to deposit 1% of the sum with the European Central Bank. So they can create money with a lever of 1:100. It's not even paper money, just a number in a computer.

        And it's similar elsewhere. Methinks Australia doesn't even have any limitation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

          Not quite.

          They do have to have the money to loan in the first place.

          1. Daniel Pfeiffer

            Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

            That’s what people think, but it couldn’t be less true. Banks loan money which they mostly don’t have, thereby creating it out of thin air. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_creation>

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "a line of credit of up to $65 billion dollars"

          And when that happens, more of that currency goes in to 'circulation' devaluing it against others. That doesn't happen with stable coins as its supposed to be backed by what its supposed to be imitating, you create 1 usdt, 1 usd goes out of circulation, but it doesnt actually do that, it is making more fake usd, that is then used along with the real usd to buy more, pushing the price up even more.

          Plus what is issued by the banks is guaranteed by the government, stable coins are just like you and me printing our own version of a currency and saying its worth the same, use it, the government cant stop you transferringit anywhere, I will exchange it for the real stuff when asked, promise. Which should be devaluing the real currency as its increasing the amount in circulation but doesn't based upon my 'promise'.

  5. phuzz Silver badge

    Out of interest, which politicians/parties is he alleged to have supported?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      https://www.marketwatch.com/story/here-are-the-politicians-who-received-money-from-ftxs-sam-bankman-fried-11670359945

      Somehow I doubt his claims about donating equally to the GOP.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Very likely contributions would be made all round. It's called hedging bets.

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        This is one of the main reasons the initial reaction to his alleged frauds was fairly muted.

        One side of great influence, possibly located mostly on the Upper East Side who could afford to lose most any amount, felt that he was a nice boy, extremely intelligent, who had helped put Mr. Biden in and saved us all from Trumpy the Demon of the Catskills.

        Another side, of less influence, being libertarian Cybercoin loonies who half expected to lose their investment anyway, that being the sport of the game, accepting of the risks: knowing that had they got profits instead, some others would be the losers.

      3. phuzz Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        I asked for info, you provided it, thanks. I don't feel that you deserve those downvotes.

  6. Michael Habel
    WTF?

    Corrupt Deamonrat Judges, backed by Deamon-ratic politicians, who bought their elections with the stolen funds given to them by SBF, decided NOT TO PURSUE this case?!

    In the words of Paul Joseph Watson... "Imagine my shock!"

    Really gets ya noggin joging what if he had backed the other team instead? Would these same rats be so tolerant to just let bygones be bygones? Looking at recent events, I'm going to say no they wouldn't be.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Do you really think he'd have been do amateur as to only back one horse?

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      I think if he'd donated as much to republicans, and they were in power, he probably wouldn't have been prosecuted for any of the charges.

      Although I suppose once they realised he was broke and they weren't going to get any more donations off of him, they might have gone ahead. Not with the campaign 'contributions' charge of course, that might make people look at who he made 'contributions' to.

      (Most US 'lobbying' would be considered straight up bribery under UK laws. To me the whole system seems rife with corruption on all sides)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        He's only being prosecuted as the whole thing has been so public and has affected more than just the ruling elite. He was a total luvvie of the ruling political elite and normally he would have been protected.

        And most US lobbying IS straight up bribery. Again they protect their own.

    3. renniks

      But isn't it because the USA is a Third World country? Well, according to the MAGA headjobs at any rate...

      They need to be rounded up & sent to an actual Third World country and see what that actually entails

  7. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
    Holmes

    Why not do it later?

    I read somewhere, that seeking the cooperation of the Bahamas, where SBF was residing, was somewhat difficult with the campaign donation charges. And thus, in order to proceed relatively quickly, they dropped this case, in order to get sentencing done for the first trial.

    However, ...

    Once, SBF is convicted, and is in jail in the US, then he's a US resident And since, they then already got him in their hands; they can take all the time in the world to do the second trial about the campaign donations. It most probably won't add any actual jail time, since you can only spend one and only one life in prison; but for reasons of finding the truth, serve justice, etc. etc. it would, on an abstract level, still worth it to go through the second trial.

    So, why not do it when he's already in jail?

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: Why not do it later?

      He's not a resident so much as a ward. Resident implies that you chose to live somewhere, or at least have the option of leaving. When you're a prisoner, you're not free to just up and leave whenever you want. You can be moved from one prison to another at any time. You are in the custody of the government, making you more of a ward of the state than anything else. And per TFA, it would basically kick off a big international kerfuffle with the Bahama's. Since they already have secured what is basically a life sentence, they just figure it's not worth the headache.

      1. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

        Re: Why not do it later?

        If I were a cynical man, I would say that the tangled web of international law has only been invented to shield certain people from facing justice.

        Why is the Bahamas extradition such a big deal anyways?

        Is it, because SBF is also a citizen of the Bahamas? If he was only a US citizen, then why can moving abroad even shield you from prosecution of the US justice system? After all, it's your own country that's pursuing you for alleged violations of your own country's laws. Changing (simply) your place of residence should change all that much.

        If, however, SBF also holds a Bahamian passport, then things probably get tangled, at least in my simple mind.

        However, dual-citizenship shouldn't be a race to the bottom in terms of which laws apply to one.

        Anyway, I still don't get why the US simply can not do the second trial later.

        I guess, I'm too simple for that one.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Why not do it later?

      If after you have extradited someone you can say "wait now he's within our borders so we don't have to worry about the terms of the extradition treaty" then such treaties would be less common.

      Imagine if a US citizen was accused of a relatively minor financial crime in another country (but just enough of a crime that it is covered under the extradition treaty) and was extradited for that crime. Then once there, after being convicted of that minor crime and given six months in jail that country says "oh and he was spying for the US so we're going to try him for that and if found guilty he'll be in prison for life". Would the US continue to extradite its citizens if that sort of thing was possible?

      The UK has fought extradition of its citizens to the US before - wanting to have assurances about the charges they would face and so on since the US justice system isn't the same as the UK justice system. I can't remember the name or details, but there was some guy who was alleged to be autistic or something who hacked the DoD, and the UK didn't want to extradite him if the US was going to charge him with crimes that have him spend the rest of his life in a regular prison. If the US could say "don't worry we're just going to charge him with minor stuff, and give him proper medical care for his autism" and then after convicting him of the minor stuff and deeming him a "resident" charges him with a huge list of crimes and puts him in a supermax prison for 80 years I imagine some UK citizens would be rightly outraged.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why not do it later?

        What about extraditing non-US citizens to the US on exceedingly iffy grounds?

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Why not do it later?

          That increases the likelihood those countries revoke their extradition treaty with the US. It isn't just the bad guys like Russia or Venezuela, it is also countries like Switzerland and Iceland who will not extradite to the US.

      2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

        Re: Why not do it later?

        While I get your reasoning, at least in my understanding this doesn't apply in this case. In this case, it's the US that wants to trial a US citizen.

        Your reasoning would apply, if SBF wasn't a US citizen, then the US would take the role of the "another country".

        If SBF has a Bahamian passport, then may. But still, if he's still a US citizen, then it shouldn't be so difficult.

        But maybe, I'm too simple a mind to understand.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why not do it later?

      Why bother, if he gets sentenced to hundreds of years in prison on the existing convictions?

      1. renniks

        Re: Why not do it later?

        The sentences will run concurrently - not one after the other (sequentially?)

  8. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Seeing as the first one is still going through appeal, he may yet walk on that one.

    In which case he will be a free man!

    Liberty and justice for a... some!

  9. vcragain

    Why does anyone think that CRYPTO anything originated in the first place ? obviously to HIDE what you are doing with your monetary transactions - no other reason ! THAT FACT TOLD ME RIGHT AWAY TO STAY COMPLETELY AWAY FROM IT !!! So don't be surprised if your underhand transaction is outed !

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