Major media want answers: Who guaranteed Bankman-Fried’s $250M bail?

Eight major media companies — including Bloomberg, the Financial Times and Reuters — have demanded public disclosure of the two individuals responsible for guaranteeing FTX former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bond. 

In a Jan. 12 letter addressed to New York District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan, attorneys from Davis Wright Tremaine LLP — acting on behalf of the media giants — argued that “the public’s right to know Bankman-Fried’s guarantors outweighed their privacy and safety rights.”

The other media organizations looking to persuade the judge to unseal the identities of Bankman-Fried’s guarantors are the Associated Press, CNBC, Dow Jones, Insider and the Washington Post.

The media lawyers argued that while a 2020 case involving Jeffrey Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell saw her bond guarantors sealed, Bankman-Fried’s alleged financial crimes are not nearly as serious as what Maxwell was accused of:

“While Mr. 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.”

According to a Jan. 12 report from Reuters, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers previously argued that Bankman-Fried’s sureties should be kept under wraps as Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried — the parents and co-signers of Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bond — have received ongoing physical threats since FTX’s catastrophic collapse in early November.

Related: Sam Bankman-Fried: ‘I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away’

If the guarantor’s names were revealed, there would be a “serious cause for concern” for the safety and welfare of those two people, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued.

On Jan. 3, Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty against all eight criminal charges related to the shock collapse of his former cryptocurrency exchange, including wire fraud and violations of campaign finance laws.

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