Sam Bankman-Fried uses VPN for Super Bowl; U.S. Government concerned

  • Ex-FTX CEO SBF’s usage of VPN could potentially prompt a further clampdown on his bail conditions.
  • Earlier, the Manhattan judge overseeing SBF’s fraud case stated that SBF cannot be barred from communicating with others.

According to US prosecutors, Sam Bankman-Fried, the ex-founder of the defunct crypto exchange FTX, has been using a virtual private network (VPN) to access the internet. The concern could potentially prompt a further clampdown on his bail conditions.

The government promptly informed defense counsel and raised concerns about the defendant’s use of a VPN after learning he had used it twice in recent weeks. The details were shared by the U.S. attorney Danielle Sassoon with Judge Lewis Kaplan in a letter on 13 February.

Through VPNs, internet users can hide their location, so the government cannot see websites or data accessed by the users. Though they can be used in a benign manner, they can also be used to gain access to foreign crypto sites that block US users or covertly access the dark web, according to Sassoon’s letter.

Sam Bankman-Fried should curb internet usage, say defendants

Mark Cohen, Sam Bankman-Fried’s attorney, stated that he used the VPN to watch NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl via an international subscription. Cohen stated that he was willing to allow a reasonable bail condition on VPNs and Bankman-Fried will not use one in the meantime.

Previously, the prosecutor in the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan stated in a letter addressed to the judge that the government has been discussing with the defendant’s lawyers how to create rules regarding SBF’s internet usage that are reasonable for both parties.

US District Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected the agreement that allowed SBF to use WhatsApp with a monitoring technology called iMessage, in addition to Zoom and FaceTime.

Moreover, the Manhattan judge overseeing Bankman-Fried’s fraud case stated that even if SBF is barred from using encrypted messaging apps such as Signal, he cannot be barred from communicating with others. To support his proposition, he cited the example of Queen Mary, Queen of Scots, who wrote old-fashioned secret code letters over 400 years ago.