On Tuesday, a federal judge issued an order to Sam Bankman-Fried, prohibiting him from accessing the internet via a virtual private network.
This was after prosecutors had expressed their concerns that the founder of the FTX crypto exchange could attempt to conceal his online activities.
The VPN ban was imposed by US Judge Lewis Kaplan, who is overseeing the case. He also scheduled a hearing on Thursday for considering more restrictions on the $250 million bail package of the disgraced crypto entrepreneur.
The previous bans that had been imposed on Sam Bankman-Fried were aimed at preventing him from using encrypted messaging apps like Signals that can be used for the auto-deletion of messages.
The US District Judge said that the use of VPN carried the same risks as that of these messaging apps, as SBF had already used it twice.
On February 9th, the judge had also rejected an agreement between the prosecutors and Bankman-Fried lawyers that would allow him to reach out to some former and current FTX workers.
He had also been ordered to not use any communication methods for this purpose, including phone, Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or email.
The ban on contacting the employees of FTX and Alameda Research was temporary, but on Tuesday, the judge extended the ban for three more days, which means it will apply until February 24th.
The 30-year old former crypto billionaire has opted to plead not guilty to the eight criminal charges that have been filed against him, which include money laundering and wire fraud conspiracy that has a prison sentence of a minimum of 115 years.
According to prosecutors, Bankman-Fried caused losses in billions of dollars, as he cheated his clients and divided assets improperly. FTX filed for bankruptcy last year in November.
Prosecutors and lawyers for the defense have been negotiating the electronic use of the crypto entrepreneur until his trial starts in October.
A filing on Monday night by the prosecutors asserted that a VPN had been used by Bankman-Fried for accessing the internet on January 29th and then again on February 12th.
Danielle Sassoon, the prosecutor, said that many people use a VPN for benign reasons, something that the defense lawyers had highlighted and is not disputed by the government.
However, the prosecutor added that they could still not deny that there were concerns about the use of a VPN because it is also well-known that some people use it for disguising their activities.
International crypto exchanges are often accessed via VPNs, which use IPs for blocking customers from the United States.
In response to the prosecutor’s concerns about the crypto exchange’s founder using a VPN, the defense lawyers shed light on why Sam Bankman-Fried had used a VPN on the said dates.
The lawyers said that on January 29th, he had used it for watching a National Football League playoff game and on February 12th, he had used it for watching the Super Bowl.
They also asserted that he would not use a VPN for the time being.