Accused cryptocurrency fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried wants most of the charges against him thrown out.
In court documents filed late Monday (May 8), the founder of collapsed cryptocurrency firm FTX, asked a federal judge to dismiss 10 of the 13 charges against him.
Bankman-Fried, 31, was charged in December with multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy following the multibillion-dollar downfall of FTX.
A second unsealed indictment in February revealed additional charges, including bank fraud and accusations of campaign finance violations. And in March, a third indictment showed that Bankman-Fried was being accused of a bribery scheme in China.
Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him and remains free on bail. He is set to stand trial in October.
According to court documents, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are seeking to dismiss several wire fraud charges. They also hope to have conspiracy to commit bank fraud charges thrown out, arguing that prosecutors failed to “state an offense for failure to allege a valid property right.”
They also ask the judge to dismiss the bribery and campaign finance-related charges.
Left untouched are three other charges: securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Attorneys for Bankman-Fried argue in their motions that the downturn in the crypto market last year may have biased the government against him.
“In the wake of the ‘crypto winter,’ the government, in hindsight, may dislike or disapprove of business practices of the cryptocurrency industry, FTX, or even Mr. Bankman-Fried — but this does not give it license to turn them into federal crimes,” one of the filings said.
Elsewhere, they note that during the time of the FTX collapse, policymakers and regulators in the U.S. were debating whether existing rules could be applied to the crypto industry and to foreign-based cryptocurrency companies — such as FTX — and generally deciding they would not be.
“Legal uncertainty and ambiguity were common,” the motion said.
This particular argument comes amid calls within the crypto sector for more clarity in the U.S. on how their industry will be regulated.
Recent days have seen the heads of Ripple and Coinbase both argue that other countries have pulled far ahead of the U.S. in their attempts to regulate cryptocurrencies.