Bankman-Fried banned from using VPN, bail arguments set for Thursday 

Quick Take

  • Sam Bankman-Fried was temporarily ordered to stop using a VPN after he used a private network to watch the Super Bowl and other football games.
  • A judge will hear arguments on Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions on Thursday.

A judge banned Sam Bankman-Fried from using a VPN after the former FTX boss said he used a private network to watch the Super Bowl while under house arrest.

“The defendant’s use of a VPN presents many of the same risks associated with his use of an encrypted messaging or call application,” U.S. Distrct Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote. “I hereby amend the conditions of defendant’s release, effective immediately, to prohibit the defendant’s use of any VPN.” 

The move comes as Bankman-Fried’s lawyers negotiate his bail terms with prosecutors. The judge recently barred Bankman-Fried from using encrypted messaging apps like Signal after he was accused of contacting a potential witness in his criminal case. Bankman-Fried is also banned from contacting current or former FTX employees until his bail conditions are settled. 

Lawyers asked Kaplan to extend the deadline to propose new bail terms until Friday, which the judge denied. Submissions on Bankman-Fried’s bail conditions are due Wednesday and the court will hear arguments on the issue Thursday afternoon, according to Kaplan’s order. 

Officials discovered earlier this week that Bankman-Fried had used a VPN, according to court filings, raising concerns that the government would be unable to see the websites he visits or the data he sends and receives while using a private network.

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Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said on Tuesday that he had used a VPN to watch the AFC and NFC football championship games on Jan. 29, along with the Super Bowl on Sunday. Bankman-Fried accessed the games with an NFL Game Pass international subscription he bought when he lived in the Bahamas, and offered to stay away from the private network until his bail conditions are set.

Bankman-Fried is under house arrest on a $250 million bond and could spend decades in jail if he is convicted. 

Disclaimer: Beginning in 2021, Michael McCaffrey, the former CEO and majority owner of The Block, took a series of loans from founder and former FTX and Alameda CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. McCaffrey resigned from the company in December 2022 after failing to disclose those transactions.


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