Car drove into barricade outside Bankman-Fried's home, lawyers say

Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, leaves on the day of a hearing at Manhattan federal court in New York City, U.S. January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

NEW YORK, Jan 19 (Reuters) - A car drove into a metal barricade outside Sam Bankman-Fried's home in California, his lawyers said on Thursday, in a recent incident they said underscores the security risks faced by the FTX founder and those ensuring his return to court.

In a filing in Manhattan federal court, lawyers for the 30-year-old onetime billionaire said three men got out of the car and told a security officer guarding the Palo Alto home, "You won't be able to keep us out." The men, who have not been identified, then got back in the car and drove away.

Bankman-Fried, arrested last month on fraud and conspiracy charges related to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange, is under house arrest at his parents' home until his Oct. 2 trial. Prosecutors say he stole billions of dollars of FTX customer funds to plug losses at his hedge fund.

He has pleaded not guilty.

The lawyers, Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, did not specify when the incident took place, describing it only as recent.

The lawyers brought up the incident in response to a push by major media outlets, including Reuters, to make public the names of two people who helped guarantee Bankman-Fried's bond alongside his parents, both Stanford Law School professors who put up their house as collateral for the $250 million bond.

The news organizations argued last week that the right of the public to know the two sureties' identities outweighed their privacy and safety rights. Bankman-Fried's lawyers said the media groups "assign far too much weight to the presumption of access" and ignored the safety of the guarantors.

"Given the notoriety of this case and the extraordinary media attention it is receiving, it is reasonable to assume that the non-parent sureties will face significant privacy and safety concerns if their identities are disclosed," Cohen and Everdell wrote in their letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan.

Prosecutors took no position on whether to disclose the sureties' identities or not, Bankman-Fried's lawyers wrote in the filing. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment.

Prosecutors interviewed and approved the two individuals on Jan. 4, Cohen and Everdell wrote. They proposed that the two additional sureties post bonds of $500,000 and $200,000, respectively. The sum represents the amount they will be liable to pay if Bankman-Fried does not show up in court.

(This story has been refiled to remove an extraneous apostrophe after billionaire in paragraph 2)

Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by William Mallard, Robert Birsel

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Reports on the New York federal courts. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina.