SBF galavanted around Manhattan with Clinton, Hochul and Saudi Prince, Prosecution says

The government has to prove that SBF spent time in Manhattan, and they chose to do it in the most incriminating way possible

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Artwork by Crystal Le

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The prosecution needs to establish that Sam Bankman-Fried spent time in Manhattan, the jurisdiction where he is currently on trial for seven federal counts of fraud and conspiracy, and they did so strategically. 

The government presented a series of emails and FBI cell phone tracking data in an effort to depict Bankman-Fried as a hobnobbing, indulgent fraudster frequently seen galavanting around New York City in 2021 and 2022.

From dinners at exclusive hotels with high-rollers to office visits with investors and magazine photoshoots, prosecutors provided more than enough evidence to show the jury that Bankman-Fried was in town, and, as it would appear, out on the town. 

In perhaps the prosecution’s best use of emails yet, the government revealed exactly how they know the phone number the FBI has been tracking belongs to Bankman-Fried. 

In an email exchange between Bankman-Fried and Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis in September 2022, the PM asked if the now-disgraced crypto mogul could talk to his son, Christopher, about an NFT project he was involved with. 

“I’d be happy to,” Bankman-Fried wrote back, followed by his cell phone number. 

Based on the FBI’s cell data analysis, they pinpointed where Bankman-Fried was located. The prosecution, referencing correspondence entered into evidence, also indicated who he was with.

The Equinox hotel, for a photoshoot with Forbes Magazine on Sept. 17, 2021. The photos went along with Bankman-Fried’s now infamous cover story in October 2021. 

Bluestone Lane in Hudson Yards, for coffee with SALT Fund, also on Sept. 17, 2021. SALT’s Anthony Scarramuci, founder of SkyBridge Capital, oversaw his firm’s nearly $8 million investment in FTX during the company’s Series B-1 raise, according to documents entered into evidence. 

375 Park Avenue, for a meeting with Temasek followed by dinner on Nov. 16, 2021. Singapore-based Temasek confirmed earlier this year that it had invested more than $273 million in FTX. 

Osteria La Baia, for dinner with NYC mayor Eric Adams on March 4, 2022. Adams is a long-time fan of cryptocurrencies, and, apparently, this Italian restaurant in midtown. 

3 World Trade Center, for a meeting with IEX Trading on Aug. 17, 2022. Months before this alleged gathering, FTX announced that it had become a “significant” stakeholder in IEX. 

The Capital Grille, for a meeting with New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Sept. 16, 2022, although the email cited by the government noted that the location for the meeting was tentative. Governor Hochul’s office did not respond to Blockworks’ request for comment. 

The Hilton Midtown, for a meeting with former President Bill Clinton on Sept. 20, 2022. Prosecutors have narrowed in on Bankman-Fried’s numerous political donations, although his trial for alleged campaign finance fraud has not yet begun. 

The Pierre Hotel, for a “small group” dinner with Saudi Prince Yasir Al Rumayyan on Sept. 21, 2022. Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend and employee Caroline Ellison testified earlier that Bankman-Fried was scrambling to raise capital, potentially from Middle East royalty, in the months before his companies collapsed. 

Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial continues Thursday after a week-long recess. The prosecution expects to rest its case early in the day and the defense has been instructed to prepare to start after the lunch break. 

The defense’s first witnesses are a mystery, although it is possible that Bankman-Fried himself will take the stand.


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