FTX founder's bail signatories include 2 family friends

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, left, arrives at Manhattan federal court, Thursday, Feb.16, 2023, in New York. The FTX founder returned to a New York courtroom for the second time in two weeks to explain why he keeps accessing parts of the internet that the government can't monitor and how it might affect his bail. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK – Two Stanford University academics signed on to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s $250 million bail package, enabling him to live with his parents while awaiting trial on fraud charges, court papers revealed Wednesday.

Unsealed papers in Manhattan federal court showed that Larry Kramer, dean emeritus of Stanford Law School, and Andreas Paepcke, a senior research scientist at Stanford, pledged to pay a total of $700,000 if Bankman-Fried flees before facing trial on charges that he defrauded investors in his cryptocurrency trading platform.

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Kramer is on the hook for $500,000 while Paepcke has agreed to pay $200,000, court records show. Neither was required to post collateral for the “personal recognizance bond.” The names were ordered unsealed Wednesday by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan at the request of news organizations, including The Associated Press.

Lawyers for Bankman-Fried had opposed the release of the names on the grounds that supporters of Bankman-Fried, including his parents, were likely to face threats.

In an email, Kramer said he has known Bankman-Fried's parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, for over a quarter century and they had been the “truest of friends” while his family faced a “harrowing battle with cancer” over the past two years. Bankman and Fried are longtime members of the Stanford Law School faculty.

“In turn, we have sought to support them as they face their own crisis,” Kramer said. “My actions are in my personal capacity, and I have no business dealings or interest in this matter other than to help our loyal and steadfast friends. Nor do I have any comment or position regarding the substance of the legal matter itself, which is what the trial will be for.”

Paepcke did not return a message seeking comment.

Bankman-Fried, 30, must return to court Thursday to satisfy Kaplan that he will not communicate with anyone or access any internet sites that cannot be monitored by federal prosecutors.

The judge called a hearing about the bail package for the second week in a row. This time, Kaplan scheduled the hearing after prosecutors complained that Bankman-Fried had twice accessed an internet site that prevented the government from knowing exactly what he had done online.

His lawyers, though, dismissed the venture onto a virtual private network as a step their client had taken to access two NFL championship games on Jan. 29 and Sunday's Super Bowl game.

Twice, Kaplan has ordered Bankman-Fried to appear for hearings about his bail even as lawyers and prosecutors claimed they were working out their differences.

The judge cautioned lawyers last week that he was more concerned that Bankman-Fried appear for trial than that his preferences for online communications be approved.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to charges lodged against him in December, when he was brought from the Bahamas to the United States.

Bankman-Fried is charged with stealing money from investors to finance political donations and risky trades at Alameda Research, his cryptocurrency hedge fund trading firm.

FTX filed for bankruptcy Nov. 11 after it ran out of money in the cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank run.

He has been confined with electronic monitoring to his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, since his initial court appearance. A trial has been tentatively set for early October.

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