US judge rules that people who post bail for Sam Bankman-Fried should be named
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges related to the collapse of the bankrupt crypto exchange, arrives on the day of a hearing in federal court Manhattan in New York City, USA, January 3, 2023. REUTERS/David EASY
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday said the names of the two people who helped bail indicted FTX crypto exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried should be made public, but give his verdict pending a scheduled appeal.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan ruled in favor of several media outlets including Reuters that sought the names.
The judge said that while the public has only a “weak” right to know who Bankman-Fried’s guarantor is, it is more valid than Bankman-Fried’s arguments about confidentiality, including that the safety of the guarantors may be at stake.
Kaplan also said the names will remain sealed until at least February 7, because “the question presented here is novel and potentially appealing.”
Spokespersons for Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, who represent Bankman-Fried, declined to comment.
Bankman-Fried, 30, has been detained at his parents’ home in California, after pleading not guilty to fraud for allegedly robbing billions of dollars of FTX customers.
His parents, both professors at Stanford Law School, co-signed a $250 million bond for their son, with two other guarantors required to sign the bonds worth $500,000. dollars and 200,000 dollars.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys said their parents had been harassed and received physical threats since FTX’s collapse and bankruptcy in November, and had “serious cause for concern.” that additional sponsors may be treated similarly.
Kaplan disagreed, noting that long before the bail money was posted, the parents were facing “heavy public scrutiny” over their relationship with their son, who was once valuable. worth an estimated $26 billion.
“The amounts of the individual bonds – $500,000 and $200,000 – do not mean that the non-parent guarantors are very wealthy or capable of attracting attention of all kinds and mass to which the defendant’s parents appear to have suffered,” Kaplan wrote.
The media has distinguished the case from another judge’s decision not to disclose who is the bailiff for longtime Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell.
They say there is less “stigma” associated with Bankman-Fried than with the late sex offender. Maxwell was later convicted.
Other media seeking to identify Bankman-Fried’s underwriters include the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, CoinDesk, Dow Jones, Financial Times, Insider, the New York Times and the Washington Post.