Late last week we got to see photos of fallen crypto-idol, Sam Bankman-Fried, walking around New York City, not exactly without a care in the world, but certainly without any kind of armed guard or escort.
Unsurprisingly, Crypto Twitter (and despite what Elon Musk says, we aren’t going to call it Crypto X just yet) went into meltdown, wondering what on earth was going on. After all, Bankman-Fried is supposedly under house arrest at his parents’ home on the Stanford University campus in California as part of his $250 million bail terms.
Internet sleuths soon worked out which part of New York he was in, which was across the road from his lawyer’s office, but also close to the South District New York (SDNY) Department of Justice (DoJ) office, both of which would be sanctioned visits within the terms of his bail.
No prizes for guessing which of the two options Crypto Twitter (CT) decided to come down on. So if SBF was visiting the DoJ, what could he be doing there? Well, that was obvious to CT… He was there to turn state’s evidence on one or more ongoing crypto-investigations.
It didn’t help when somebody noticed that the SDNY DoJ had, on the day that the pictures were supposedly taken, “randomly filed new files in the old Tether and Poloniex case.” Tether and parent-company, Bitfinex, were accused of creating artificial demand in the crypto market by minting tether that wasn’t fully backed by USD to purchase bitcoin and other crypto assets.
Furthermore, the filings redacted the name and details of an anonymous trader who bought and sold bitcoin through wallets on Poloniex and Bitfinex. The anonymous trader’s wallet was one of a group that received a full 72% of all the tether minted between 2018 and 2019.
It might be considered a little incongruous that the following day, the SDNY DoJ made another filing accusing Bankman-Fried of “sharing personal writings of Caroline Ellison’s with a New York Times reporter,” Ellison being ex-CEO of Alameda Research, ex-girlfriend of SBF, and a key witness in the DoJ’s ongoing case against him following the collapse of FTX.
Then again, just yesterday, the SDNY DoJ filed a further document stating that it was dropping charges related to the alleged breaking of campaign finance rules, after clarification from the Bahaman authorities that SBF had not been extradited on this charge.
Whether Bankman-Fried is “trying to cut a deal by ratting out others?!?!??” or not, one thing for sure is that this case still has several twists and turns to come… and we (and Crypto Twitter) will be here to Observe and comment.