Sam Bankman-Fried bail was backed by Stanford dean, scientist

Two people who co-signed FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried's $250 million bail package have been have been publicly identified. File Image

Two people who co-signed FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried's $250 million bail package have been have been publicly identified. File Image

Published Feb 16, 2023


Two people who co-signed FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried's $250 million bail package have been have been publicly identified as the former dean of Stanford's law school and a senior research scientist at the elite university.

A New York federal judge on Wednesday unsealed the names of Larry Kramer, who served as Stanford Law School dean from 2004 to 2012, and computer scientist Andreas Paepcke.

Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges over the collapse of FTX, has deep ties to Stanford. Both his parents are law school professors there, and he is currently living with them near campus. Bankman-Fried's parents also acted as guarantors and put their home up as security, though the land is actually owned by the university

Speculation had long swirled around the identities of the bail signatories after Bankman-Fried's lawyers argued for the court to keep their names private. Under the terms of the bail package - which prosecutors said was one of the largest pretrial bonds in U.S. history - the guarantors were to be "of considerable means" and one of them couldn't be a relative.

In a statement Wednesday, Kramer said he and his wife had been close friends with Bankman-Fried's parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, since the mid-1990s. "During the past two years, while my family faced a harrowing battle with cancer, they have been the truest of friends - bringing food, providing moral support, and frequently stepping in at moment's notice to help," Kramer said.

"In turn, we have sought to support them as they face their own crisis. 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 didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kramer and Paepcke had signed on as sureties for separate bonds of $500,000 and $200,000, respectively.

The names of the guarantors were released after Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled in favor of an application from various media organizations, including Bloomberg, objecting to the information being kept a secret.

Kramer remains an emeritus dean at Stanford Law, according to his online biography page, and is also president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, one of the nation's largest charitable foundations with around $15 billion in assets.

According to Paepcke's online Stanford bio, he applies machine learning towards ecological projects and his hobbies include "piano studies, worrying and poetry."

Bankman-Fried's lawyers had initially argued that revealing the guarantors' identities would put them at risk of media scrutiny and possibly harassment. But Kaplan ruled that the privacy interests of the guarantors were limited because they voluntarily entered into a highly-publicized criminal proceeding by signing the bonds.

The judge granted the media's application but put his order on hold to give the defense and prosecution time to appeal. The defense filed a notice to appeal but ultimately didn't file an appeal before Kaplan's Tuesday deadline.

The revelation of Bankman-Fried's bail guarantors comes amid a prolonged dispute over the terms of his bail. The 30-year-old was recently barred from using encrypted apps, such as Signal, after he used the platform to contact FTX's U.S. general counsel, a potential witness in the case.

Kaplan has expressed further concern about Bankman-Fried's ability to engage in secret communications with witnesses and others involved in the case. The judge rejected an earlier deal on the FTX co-founder's use of apps and on Tuesday barred him from using virtual private networks, which conceal a user's IP address. Bankman-Fried's lawyers claimed he used the VPN to watch NFL games including the Superbowl.

The bail conditions will be discussed at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday.

The case is U.S. v Bankman-Fried, 22-cr-673, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).