Attorneys working on behalf of Samuel Bankman-Fried “SBF”, former CEO of FTX, have agreed to pay for a technical expert to assist the federal judge overseeing his fraud case in navigating modern encryption technology to aid in possibly modifying Bankman-Fried’s bail terms.
The decision was made when it was determined that Bankman-Fried had been accessing the internet using a virtual private network (VPN), which resulted in the conditions of his bail being tightened.
What is the judge’s response to SBF’s lawyers?
In response to the court’s proposal to appoint an independent technical expert to advise on technical issues concerning SBF’s bail conditions, the defense agreed to the appointment of such an expert at the defense’s expense.
The Government had no objection to the proposal. In a letter sent to Judge Lewis Kaplan, SBF’s lawyers Christian Everdell and Mark Cohen agreed with his proposal for a technical professional to aid him.
The technical expert will assist the judge in navigating challenges relating to encrypted communications, messaging applications with an emphasis on privacy, and virtual private networks (VPNs).
The court has been attempting to find a happy medium between granting SBF’s access to communication channels in order for him to prepare his case and preventing the abuse of messaging applications and privacy software.
It is common practice to use a virtual private network, often known as a VPN, in order to alter one’s internet protocol (IP) address, to provide an extra layer of protection to one’s communications, or to access information that is blocked under authoritarian regimes.
The court has placed a temporary prohibition on Bankman-Fried from using any virtual private network (VPN) or encrypted chat applications until his bail conditions have been resolved.
SBF gets subpoenaed
In a related development, representatives for Voyager Digital’s unsecured creditors have requested that Bankman-Fried and several top-level executives from FTX and Alameda Research provide documents and appear in court remotely next week for a deposition.
The request was made in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Bankman-Fried has been served a “Subpoena to Testify at a Deposition in a Bankruptcy Case” by the Official Committee for the Unsecured Creditors of Voyager Digital Holdings, a bankrupt crypto lending exchange.
Bankman-Fried and the other executives were required to provide the requested information by Feb. 17. This comes after Voyager’s lawyers served a subpoena to SBF, Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, and FTX’s head of product Ramnic Arora, to provide all requested “documents and communications” no later than Feb. 20.
Bankman-Fried’s case continues to unfold, with the addition of a technical expert to navigate issues surrounding encrypted messages and VPNs. As legal proceedings continue, the use of encryption technology and its potential for misuse will likely be further explored.
It is possible that the inclusion of a technical expert will assist in ensuring that any revisions to the bail conditions for Bankman-Fried are suitable and well-informed. It is currently impossible to predict how this development may influence the final decision on the case.