An elite team of federal investigators are looking into possible campaign-finance violations by Sam Bankman-Fried or his associates in what appears to be an expansion of the Justice Department investigation into the sprawling FTX scandal, according to sources briefed on the matter. The Public Integrity Section, a SWAT team of sorts within the D.O.J. that focuses on crimes by public officials, recently issued at least one grand jury subpoena in Puerto Rico, I’m told by a source. The existence of this additional grand jury, empaneled in San Juan, raises the possibility that there could be more indictments involving S.B.F. or his inner circle in the coming weeks.
Details are still scarce about the twists in this matter. But multiple people involved in the case recently said they were informed of Public Integrity’s engagement in Puerto Rico, which hasn’t previously been reported. To date, the only known criminal investigation comes from the Southern District of New York, which in December indicted S.B.F. on eight counts of fraud, including one count of campaign-finance violations. U.S. Attorney Damien Williams briefly name-checked the Public Integrity office and “expressed appreciation” for their assistance when the indictment was announced, in early December. At the time, that struck legal observers as a mere formality, given that Public Integrity is often at least consulted on campaign-finance matters. Now it appears that the office has taken on a larger role, or has opened a separate investigation.
Either way, the involvement of the integrity division suggests that the political and campaign-finance elements of the S.B.F. case may be broader than originally known, and could involve crimes perpetrated well beyond New York, legal experts and Public Integrity alumni tell me. Representatives for the Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Puerto Rico, and the F.B.I. field office in Puerto Rico all declined to comment.