Major media outlets demand identities of SBF’s $250M bond guarantors

The media’s lawyers argued the public’s right to know Bankman-Fried’s sureties outweighed their privacy and safety rights, but Bankman-Fried’s lawyers strongly disagreed.

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.”

Media organizations looking to persuade the judge to unseal the identities of Bankman-Fried’s guarantors include the Associated Press, Bloomberg, CNBC, Dow Jones, The Financial Times, Insider and the Washington Post.

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In making their case, the media’s lawyers used case precedent from Ghislaine Maxwell’s Dec. 2020 case — where the bond guarantors’ names weren’t revealed — to argue that Sam Bankman-Fried’s financial crimes were not as serious as Maxwell’s involvement in Jeffery Epstein’s child sex traffic ring scandal:

“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 FTX, which includes wire fraud and violations of campaign finance laws among other charges.

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