With the arrest of ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the authorities want to "send a message" to representatives of the digital asset industry. This was stated by the former prosecutor of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Department of the US Department of Justice Renato Mariotti.
He suggested that SBF's detention was facilitated by his activity in the media.
"From the point of view of the Ministry of Justice, Bankman-Fried spread misinformation and formed distrust of regulators controlling the market," explained Mariotti.
The expert pointed out suspicions that the supervisory authorities would not pursue SBF because of the $40 million it spent on political campaigns, including $5.2 million — the current US President Joe Biden.
The collapse of FTX "definitely" ruined the reputation of cryptocurrencies in the eyes of the authorities. There was energy to eliminate shortcomings in its regulation, the expert added.
Mariotti predicted "a large number of enforcement actions" against industry participants, especially by the SEC. He does not expect favorable regulation – the Bankman-Freed situation will become the basis for more active involvement of supervisory authorities.
"The [Biden] administration believes that the digital asset market is not regulated, so [crypto firms] are convinced that they will get away with everything. For this reason, the agencies are trying to set a flag and send a signal," the specialist explained.
On December 13, law enforcement agencies of the Bahamas arrested FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried at the request of the US government.
The court refused him bail of $250,000, but on December 15, Eyewitness News Bahamas reported that Bankman-Freed had filed a new petition.
Recall that the SEC accused SBF of deceiving FTX investors and using the funds of clients of the trading platform, CFTC — in violation of the Law on Commodity Exchanges.
The U.S. Attorney's office charged Bankman-Fried with committing eight criminal offenses, which together threatens him with up to 115 years in prison.