The house that helped secure Sam Bankman-Fried's $250 million bail package reportedly sits on land his parents leased from Stanford
- Sam Bankman-Fried's parents lease the land for their home from Stanford, the LA Times reports.
- They'd put up the $4 million home as collateral for the former FTX CEO's $250 million bail release.
When Sam Bankman-Fried's parents helped him get released through a $250 million bail package, it raised questions about how their family home could secure the astronomical sum.
It turns out now that the five-bedroom residence is also on land that his parents, who are Stanford University professors, leased from their employer, according to a Los Angeles Times report. That could add limitations to any possible sale of the house and to determinations about its value, the report said.
The revelation once again prompts questions about how and why courts set bail terms, which are meant to ensure that a defendant doesn't flee while awaiting trial.
In this case, Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited to the US from the Bahamas in December, and his parents agreed to put up their home as collateral — taken together, that can help make the case to the court that he isn't a flight risk, legal experts told Insider.
"The whole point is not to keep him in jail, but to secure his appearance when the court wants him," said Kevin O'Brien of Ford O'Brien Landy LLP, who has previously been a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn.
"The court's theory is likely that he's not going to do anything to jeopardize his parents' lease," he said.
The New York federal court overseeing Bankman-Fried's criminal case set bail terms requiring him to wear an ankle monitor and to submit to "home detention" at the Palo Alto home of his parents Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman.
Those terms require him to mostly remain at home, and travel just to attend court hearings while he awaits trial that is scheduled for October.
While under house arrest, Bankman-Fried has been playing video games by himself, he told Puck's Teddy Schleifer, who visited him for an interview. His other visitors have reportedly included crypto YouTuber Tiffany Fong and "Big Short" author Michael Lewis, who is writing a book about him and FTX.
Bankman-Fried has also been posting on Substack, where he wrote this month that "I didn't steal funds, and I certainly didn't stash billions away." And he has tweeted critically of FTX's now CEO John Ray, who is steering the exchange through its ongoing bankruptcy.
A representative for Bankman-Fried declined to comment, while representatives for Mr. Bankman-Fried's parents and Stanford University didn't respond to Insider's emailed requests for comment.
Prosecutors are now also arguing that Bankman-Fried's bail restrictions must go further, and impose limits on whom he communicates with and how. In a filing on Friday, prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried reached out to "current and former FTX employees," including a general counsel for the crypto exchange, and argued that such messages could result in "witness tampering."
Prosecutors didn't name the people they alleged he contacted, but shared a Signal message in which Mr. Bankman-Fried appeared to write that, "I would really love to reconnect and see if there's a way for us to have a constructive relationship, use each other as resources when possible, or at least vet things with each other." They argued also that Bankman-Fried shouldn't be allowed to use secure messaging apps like Signal where users can choose for messages to disappear.
In a filing on Saturday, Bankman-Fried's lawyers pushed back, arguing that his communication "is more reasonably read as another attempt by Mr. Bankman-Fried to offer his assistance to FTX 'as a resource.'"
The court hasn't ruled on the issue.
In general, the court's goals in imposing bail terms is to make sure that a defendant doesn't pose a threat, and can be easily summoned to court, according to experts.
"The purpose isn't so much to be able to collect on the $250 million if he flees," said Jordi de Llano, a partner at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP and a former federal prosecutor in Boston. "Rarely are you going to be able to provide a security worth that amount."
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