On Tuesday, a federal judge said that the former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been banned from using virtual private networks (VPNs). The ruling was made after prosecutors argued that the former crypto billionaire might be using VPNs to conceal his online activity.
FTX founder banned from using VPNs
The ban was announced by US District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is in charge of the fraud charges facing Bankman-Fried. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are currently negotiating the terms of his bail agreement. In early January, the former FTX CEO was released on a $250M bail agreement.
JUST IN: Judge bans Sam Bankman-Fried from using VPNs while out on bail.
— Watcher.Guru (@WatcherGuru) February 14, 2023
The judge’s ruling comes after it emerged that Bankman-Fried had used a VPN to watch the Super Bowl. The usage raised concerns over whether the prosecutors would be able to monitor the websites he visits and the messages he sends or receives.
However, the lawyers of Bankman-Fried said that he had accessed a VPN network to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. They also added that Bankman-Fried used a VPN towards the end of January to watch the AFC and NFC football games.
The lawyers said that Bankman-Fried watched the games using a global subscription he had purchased when he resided in the Bahamas. However, the lawyers noted that Bankman-Fried had agreed to the judge’s ruling and would refrain from using VPNs until the terms of his bail are finalized.
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said on Tuesday that he had used a VPN to watch the AFC and NFC football championship games on Jan. 29 and the Super Bowl on Sunday. Bankman-Fried accessed the games with an NFL Game Pass international subscription he bought when he lived in the Bahamas. However, he has offered to stay away from the private network until his bail conditions were set.
In the ruling, Judge Kaplan said, “the defendant’s use of a VPN presents many of the same risks associated with his use of an encrypted messaging or call application. I hereby amend the conditions of the defendant’s release, effective immediately, to prohibit the defendant’s use of any VPN.”
Bankman-Fried’s lawyers negotiate new bail conditions
This ruling comes when the lawyers are negotiating the bail agreements for the former crypto mogul with the prosecutors. In one of the terms, Judge Kaplan has barred Bankman-Fried from using encrypted messaging applications such as Signal. The ruling was made after prosecutors said he had used Signal to contact one of the key witnesses in his fraud case.
Sam Bankman-Fried Barred From Encrypted Messaging Apps, Talking to FTX Employees https://t.co/MmWqgsCrfY
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) February 2, 2023
Bankman-Fried has also been barred from contacting the current and former employees of FTX and Alameda Research until the judge rules on the final conditions of the bail agreement. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had requested Judge Kaplan to extend the deadline for proposing new bail terms until Friday. However, the judge turned down the request, with the arguments on the matter scheduled for Thursday.
Bankman-Fried is facing eight counts of fraud and conspiracy after transferring customer funds from FTX. His trial was scheduled to commence in October this year. The FTX founder faces a long prison term if he is found guilty.
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