FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried
A portrait of FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. Photo by: Reuters/FTX

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange, bribed at least one Chinese government official in 2021.

The allegation was made by federal prosecutors on Tuesday, reported New York Post.

They said that he paid $40 million to at least one Chinese government official to gain access to accounts that had been frozen by China.

Details of the bribe were included in a new indictment against the 31-year-old that was filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

The prosecutors alleged that the accused fraudster sought to unfreeze $1 billion in cryptocurrency in accounts seized by the authoritarian state.

The indictment said that the former head of hedge fund Alameda Research authorized and directed a "bribe of at least $40 million to one or more Chinese government officials."

According to BBC, the alleged bribe was given after months of other efforts to access the funds. He believed they were frozen as part of an investigation into another trading firm.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office said that the bribe was successful and Bankman-Fried and his cohort gained access to the accounts.

The count of conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act takes the number of charges to 13 since he was arrested last December in the Bahamas.

He was first hit with a series of charges for allegedly defrauding customers and investors of his two cryptocurrency firms and for mixing funds between the two entities. The former crypto guru has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

He was also charged in five superseding indictments with a campaign finance violation and financial crimes.

Last month, in an indictment, prosecutors detailed an alleged sprawling campaign finance scheme that he allegedly spearheaded in an effort to buy political influence in the U.S.

He and his cohort allegedly made hundreds of "substantial" political donations to Democratic and Republican campaigns in the name of FTX executives. He did so because he reportedly did not want to be known as a liberal, but also didn't want his name attached to Grand Old Party fundraising.

Bankman-Fried, who faces the rest of his life in prison if convicted, is set to be arraigned on the latest indictment on Thursday.

As for his collapsed FTX, CNBC reported that it remains mired in Delaware bankruptcy court proceedings.

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