Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has been charged with bribery for allegedly paying $40 million to Chinese officials in order to reclaim $1 billion in frozen cryptocurrency.
The charges were announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried and others conspired to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to Chinese officials in order to obtain favorable regulatory treatment for FTX.
The FCPA is a U.S. law that prohibits companies from bribing foreign officials to obtain or retain business. The law applies to all U.S. companies, including those that operate in the cryptocurrency industry.
The indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried and others began bribing Chinese officials in 2021. The bribes were allegedly paid in the form of cryptocurrency, and were used to obtain favorable regulatory treatment for FTX.
The indictment also alleges that Bankman-Fried and others used the bribes to influence the outcome of an investigation by the Chinese government into FTX.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He is scheduled to appear in court on June 14.
The charges also raise questions about the regulatory environment for cryptocurrency exchanges. The FCPA is a U.S. law, but it could have implications for cryptocurrency exchanges that operate in other countries.