SEC and CFTC's Lawsuits against Sam Bankman-Fried Put on Hold by U.S. Judge – Here's Why
A New York judge has put cases against the former FTX CEO brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on hold until the criminal cases against him are concluded.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel in Manhattan granted a motion to push back the civil lawsuits filed by the SEC and the CFTC, arguing that the outcome of the criminal case would likely affect what issues remained in the civil cases, according to a report by Reuters.
Prosecutors also claimed that Bankman-Fried "could gather evidence in the civil cases to improperly impeach government witnesses, circumvent discovery rules in criminal cases, and tailor his criminal defense," the report said.
Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, filed the motion to hold off on civil proceedings until the Justice Department’s case against the former CEO is complete last week.
FTX and its group of crypto companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early November. Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, was later arrested in The Bahamas after US prosecutors formally filed criminal charges against him. He was eventually extradited to the US, where he was released from jail after posting a $250m bond in a New York court.
The DOJ has filed eight criminal charges, including wire fraud, money laundering, securities fraud, commodities fraud, and conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws against the disgraced crypto boss.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission also charged SBF with civil charges for fraud and said Bankman-Fried, FTX, and Alameda Research caused the loss of over $8 billion in customer deposits. The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought similar charges.
SEC Kicks Off Regulatory War Against Crypto
The unprecedented collapse of FTX, which delivered billions in losses to retail customers, attracted the ire of regulators worldwide. Specifically, US prosecutors have ramped up efforts to bring crypto companies under their reign.
In late January, the White House detailed its plans to address potential risks from cryptocurrencies in a roadmap that calls for authorities to “ramp up enforcement where appropriate” and Congress “to step up its efforts” to regulate the industry.
Last week, the SEC reached an agreement with crypto exchange Kraken to stop offering staking services or programs to clients in the country and pay $30 million to settle allegations that failed “to register the offer and sale of their cryptoasset staking-as-a-service program,” which the commission now qualified as securities.
And more recently, the agency revealed that it intends to sue stablecoin issuer Paxos, which is behind the Pax Dollar (USDP) and Binance USD (BUSD) tokens, over the latter stablecoin.
Considering the recent FTX situation, it is natural that the SEC is reacting by imposing more pressure and regulations on the crypto market, such as checking whether stablecoins are backed by trusted securities, Stanislav Havryliuk, COO at Zonda, a major digital asset investment platforms in Europe, said in a comment. He added:
"Although reaching an agreement between the US regulators and the crypto industry might take a moment, I believe that the outcome will be beneficial for all parties involved, as all activities are undertaken with the safety of the crypto-based solutions and market participants in mind."