Two academics at Stanford University secured the $250 million bond on behalf of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried ahead of his trial, court documents revealed on Wednesday.
Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty last month to eight charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission through campaign finance violations. His cryptocurrency empire collapsed at the end of last year after users and investors learned that FTX had improperly commingled funds with sister trading company Alameda Research.
Mark Cohen, a lawyer for Bankman-Fried who previously defended Jeffrey Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell, initially succeeded in requesting that the identities of two unknown individuals who secured the bond remain sealed. Judge Lewis Kaplan of the Southern District of New York later ruled that the names could be made public.
Court documents showed that Larry Kramer, the dean emeritus of Stanford Law School and president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Andreas Paepcke, a senior research scientist at Stanford University, were the two individuals who secured the bond. Kramer signed a $500,000 bond, while Paepcke signed a $200,000 bond; Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, the parents of Sam Bankman-Fried and former Stanford Law School professors, also secured the bond with the equity in their northern California home.
Kramer said in a statement to CNN that he has counted Bankman and Fried as close friends for nearly three decades. “During the past two years, while my family faced a harrowing battle with cancer, they have been the truest of friends,” he remarked, adding that there was no “interest in this matter other than to help our loyal and steadfast friends.”
None of the parties will have to pay any amount unless Bankman-Fried does not appear in court proceedings. The disgraced entrepreneur is currently staying in his parents’ home, which is worth approximately $4 million and features amenities such as three baths, wall-to-wall windows, a study, a gated pool, and a lawn lined by palm trees.
Bankman-Fried, who claimed that he lost his entire multibillion-dollar fortune as FTX collapsed, was originally denied bail due to the significant flight risk he posed.
Federal prosecutors requested last month that Bankman-Fried become subject to more restrictions during his pretrial release after he allegedly tried to tamper with a witness through the encrypted messaging platform Signal. He reportedly told the current general counsel of FTX US in a message that he “would really love to reconnect and see if there’s a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other.” United States Attorney Damian Williams from the Southern District of New York wrote that the request to “vet things with each other” is suggestive of an attempt to impact the witness’s testimony, while the “constructive relationship” appeal is an invitation to cooperate.
Bankman-Fried generated controversy beyond the cryptocurrency sector because of his extensive ties to politicians and government officials. He contributed $39 million to Democratic campaigns ahead of the 2022 midterm elections after emerging as the second-largest donor for the Biden campaign in the 2020 cycle; he was granted four meetings at the White House in the months before his company filed for bankruptcy.