Science & Tech

Sam Bankman-Fried pleas to not go to jail because he's 'vegan'

A Timeline of FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s Arrest

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has been denied bail by a judge in the Bahamas, despite his plea to put him on house arrest.

Bankman-Fried was charged with "one of the biggest financial frauds in US history" on Tuesday by US authorities. Chief magistrate JoyAnn Ferguson-Pratt denied the petition for release on bail, saying there was a "great" risk of flight. He was ordered to be kept on remand at a Fox Hill correctional facility until 8 February.

Bankman-Fried is accused of defrauding investors out of $1.8 billion after allegedly convincing them FTX was safe to use. They claimed he hid $300 million in a Brazilian fund in September before the collapse of the trading platform.

The 30-year-old allegedly told the chief magistrate he couldn't go to jail because of his vegan diet and because he is "depressed." His lawyers were seeking bail of $250,000 – a request which was denied.

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In the US, Bankman-Fried faces eight criminal charges, including money laundering, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud. There are also civil charges, including misleading investors – who put over $1 billion into the company.

On Tuesday, Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described Bankman-Fried's alleged fraud as one of the largest in US history.

Williams claimed he had used "tens of millions" in gains for illegal campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans alike.

"All this dirty money was used in service of Bankman-Fried's desire to buy bipartisan influence and impact the direction of public policy in Washington," Williams said.

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