Eight mainstream media outlets are calling for the release of two unknown names who co-signed Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bond.
In a letter filed with the court on Thursday, lawyers from Davis Wright Tremaine argued that the “public’s interest in this matter cannot be overstated.”
Bloomberg, Financial Times, CNBC, Reuters, Dow Jones, Insider and the Washington Post all requested US judge Lewis Kaplan publicly release the identifies of Bankman-Fried’s bail sureties.
A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried declined to comment on the matter.
The former FTX CEO was released last month on what Assistant US Attorney Nick Roos has described as “the highest ever pre-trial bond.” Bankman-Fried’s parents’ California home guaranteed the bond in lieu of actually fronting the cash.
Bankman-Fried was arrested, extradited and charged late last year over allegedly looting his crypto exchange. Bankman-Fried faces an eight-count indictment, with charges including fraud and conspiracy.
Signing the bond was essentially a promise that Bankman-Fried would appear in court when called upon; if he fails to show — or has violated any of the judge’s conditions — the government could seize the house.
Four people were required to co-sign the bond, including one person external to the family, the New York Times reported.
Two of those signatures were made by his parents, both Stanford Law professors. But the identities of the other two have not been disclosed, and on Jan. 3, Bankman-Fried filed a motion to conceal the identities for good.
Lawyers representing the outlets wrote:
“The public, however, has an interest in knowing who it is that provided [Bankman-Fried] with financial backing following this alleged massive fraud and political scandal, particularly given [his] close relationships with leaders of the financial industry, investors, prominent Silicon Valley billionaires, and elected representatives.”
The disgraced crypto mogul had relied on a prior case against Ghislaine Maxwell, the convicted sex offender, as she was allowed to redact information on her bail guarantors due to privacy and safety concerns.
Lawyers for the media outlets argued the two situations are non-identical in nature and his dependency on Maxwell’s case shouldn’t be valid.
“While [Bankman-Fried] is accused of serious financial crimes, a public association with him does not carry nearly the same stigma as with the Jeffrey Epstein child sex trafficking scandal,” lawyers for the outlets said.
Bankman-Fried’s criminal lawyers, Christian R. Oversell and Mark Stewart Cohen, are former federal prosecutors who previously represented Maxwell.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges including wire fraud and money laundering, and is set to stand for trial in October.
Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.
This article was first published on Blockworks.co