US prosecutors have asked a federal court to tighten Sam Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions to prevent the disgraced entrepreneur from contacting his former colleagues. According to court documents seen by The New York Times, lawyers from the Department of Justice allege Bankman-Fried tried messaging the general counsel of FTX's US arm over Signal and email earlier this month. The communication was “suggestive of an effort to influence Witness-1's potential testimony,” the filing states.
“I 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,” says one message Bankman-Fried sent, according to the Justice Department. The DOJ has asked the judge overseeing Bankman-Fried’s criminal case to bar him from contacting current and former FTX employees, as well as using Signal or any other encrypted or ephemeral messaging app. Following the request, SBF’s legal team accused federal prosecutors of trying to paint their client in the “worst possible light.” They claim Bankman-Fried tried contacting the general counsel of FTX US and CEO John Ray to offer “assistance,” not to interfere with his criminal case. His lawyers also claim a Signal ban isn’t necessary since Bankman-Fried is not using the app’s auto-delete feature.
Prosecutors allege SBF’s use of Signal is consistent with “a history” of using the app to hide his dealings at FTX. Prior to FTX’s implosion in November, Bankman-Fried and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison were reportedly part of a secret “Wirefraud” group chat on Signal. During his tenure at the exchange, SBF also allegedly directed employees to enable Signal’s disappearing messages feature.