Crypto: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is restricted from using encrypted messaging apps

A New York judge has imposed communication limits on former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried, according to a court filing on Feb. 1.

The filing includes two restrictions. Bankman-Fried can’t communicate with any previous or current employees at FTX or Alameda, other than his immediate family members, except in the presence of a legal counsel. He also can’t use any encrypted or disappearing chat-messaging apps like Signal.

On Jan. 27, prosecutors filed a court document to request limiting Bankman-Fried’s communications.

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Judge Lewis Kaplan on Wednesday noted that when Bankman-Fried was leading FTX, he told employees to turn on the auto-delete feature on their messaging apps. “In or about 2021, the defendant directed also that Slack and Signal communications between FTX and Alameda employees – including his own business communications – be set to automatically delete after 30 days or less,” the court filing said.

Bankman-Fried allegedly also told Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, a hedge fund with ties to FTX, that it’s hard to build a legal case with a lack of saved messages.

Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Bankman-Fried, in the past, has chosen to exercise his right to free speech over his right to remain silent by doing media tours, giving interviews to crypto influencers, and even launching a Substack to provide details of his version of what happened at FTX, including its bankruptcy filing in November. 

Bankman-Fried, who was arrested in the Bahamas in December 2022, is currently living at his parents’ house in Palo Alto, California, after being released from custody in December on a $250 million bail deal. The court-ordered communications restrictions relate to terms of his release on bail. In January, Kaplan ruled that the names of the two unidentified people who co-signed Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail bond can be made public.

The next step in the communication restrictions matter is a court hearing on Feb. 7, during which Bankman-Fried’s lawyers will have a chance to appeal the decision.

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