© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, leaves the Manhattan federal court in New York City, U.S. March 30, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday asked a judge to hold a separate trial for Sam Bankman-Fried, the indicted founder of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, who faces new charges of foreign bribery, bank fraud and conspiracy.

Prosecutors added those charges this year, after Bankman-Fried’s December 2022 extradition from the Bahamas in the wake of FTX’s collapse. An initial eight-count indictment accused the one-time billionaire of stealing billions of dollars from FTX customers and lying to investors and lenders.

Bankman-Fried, 31, has pleaded not guilty to all 13 counts. He had asked U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan to dismiss the new charges or alternatively separate them from his Oct. 2 trial.

A court in the Bahamas, where FTX was based, on Tuesday temporarily barred the country’s government from agreeing to let U.S. prosecutors pursue the new charges.

In Wednesday’s court filing, federal prosecutors in Manhattan cited uncertainty around the decision from the Bahamas, and asked Kaplan to schedule a trial on the five counts for the first quarter of 2024. Prosecutors have said they will drop the charges if the Caribbean nation does not consent to them.

Kaplan is expected to hear arguments on Thursday at a 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) hearing.

Lawyers for Bankman-Fried have asked that at least 11 of the charges be dismissed. They have said the Bahamas also did not consent to a charge of violating U.S. campaign finance laws brought before his extradition.


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