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US prosecutors have discovered that the founder and CEO of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, has been using a VPN while on bail.
They’re afraid he did it to hide his online activities.
A prosecutor, Danielle Sassoon, reminded the judge that the use of a VPN prevents the government from tracking Bankman-Fried’s internet use.
She raised concerns that he could be hiding his online activity to access foreign crypto sites and the dark web.
Sassoon also mentioned that SBF’s VPN use doesn’t have to mean he did either of these things.
She stated that “as defense counsel has pointed out, and the government does not dispute, many individuals use a VPN for benign purposes.”
The defense attorney Mark Cohen responded by saying Bankman-Friend used a VPN to watch the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl through an international subscription.
He continued to say that the defense would accept a “reasonable” bail condition on VPN use. The FTX founder and CEO won’t use one in the interim.
Previous Signal and Slack issues
Prosecutors have previously alleged that Bankman-Fried used encrypted messaging apps to reach out to potential witnesses.
They said that incriminating conversations with the defendant have disappeared due to his use of the Signal and Slack autodelete features.
The Manhattan judge who handles the case said that even if the court restricts Bankman-Fried’s use of encrypted messaging apps such as Signal, it cannot stop him from contacting others.
SBF faces several criminal charges after his crypto exchange collapsed.
The court released him on bail earlier in December, and he pleaded not guilty during a hearing on January 3.
John J. Ray III, who specializes in recovering funds from troubled companies, replaced him as the FTX CEO. The company has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since November 2022.