Criminal charges against disgraced former-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried have been split into two cases after SBF lawyers attempted to have multiple charges dropped in May.

Sam Bankman-Fried deferred charges

Documents filed in the Southern District Court in New York on May 8 reveal that SBF’s legal team sought to outright dismiss 10 out of the 13 criminal charges levied against him, arguing that some charges were added after SBF had agreed to be extradited, which goes against the Treaty’s rule of speciality provision.

The only charges SBF’s lawyers did not seek to dismiss were conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering – but Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.

The court attempted to speed up proceedings by splitting the 13 charges into two separate trials, with five charges filed after extradition set to go on trial on March 11, 2024, per a ruling on Thursday from US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors have requested a waiver from Bahamian authorities to try SBF on the five additional changes they imposed after his extradition from the country.

In an effort to avoid a protracted process, DOJ lawyers filed court filings last Wednesday announcing their plan to trial Bankman-Fried on the original eight charges while they await approval of their waiver.

The new trial in March will focus on charge of bribery conspiracy, conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business, bank fraud conspiracy, and derivatives and securities fraud.

Regarding the initial eight charges, the trial for them is set to take place as planned on October 2. These charges relate to wire, derivatives, and securities fraud, as well as conspiracy allegations linked to activities at FTX and the exchange’s then-sister company – Alameda Research. Accusations of money laundering involved are also involved.

SBF to walk away without a prison sentence?

The court updates were received with scepticism by the crypto community and ex-FTX users, some of whom believe justice will never be served to Sam Bankman-Fried due to his $40-odd million in political donations and lobbying before his fall from grace.

Due to the highly-politicised nature of the Sam Bankman-Fried saga, some commentators have said that by offering to drop several charges, the stage is being set for the fraudster to get away with murder.

Comments comparing charges against former-president Trump and those levied against SBF alluded to an air of deep corruption in the US justice system, where politically connected individuals appear to be above the law.

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