In early January, the names of the two guarantors behind Sam Bankman-Fried’s (SBF) $250 million bail package were revealed after news organizations gained court approval to unseal the names. The signatories were Larry Kramer and Andreas Paepcke, a former Stanford law school dean and computer scientist, respectively. Kramer is president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Paepcke is a data analytics expert. Kramer signed a surety for a $500,000 bond, while Paepcke signed a $200,000 bond. SBF’s parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, were also required to post equity in their home as partial satisfaction of the bail conditions.
Kramer stated that he and his wife have been close friends with SBF’s parents since the mid-1990s, and he felt inclined to help them given their support during his family’s battle with cancer. SBF has pled not guilty after being charged with multiple counts of fraud, involving the misappropriation of FTX user assets for trading at its sister company, Alameda Research. He is restricted from communicating with those involved in the FTX bankruptcy process.
The bail package is a “personal recognizance bond” containing Bankman-Fried’s and his parents’ solemn promise to pay the fine if he doesn’t show up for trial when asked. Kramer and Paepcke’s identities were initially hidden to protect them from public and media harassment, but the judge determined that their signing the bonds showed a voluntary willingness to enter a high-profile public case, limiting their claims to privacy. The four scholars’ pledges still pale next to the $250 million price tag attached to the bail package, which is the largest-ever pretrial bond. SBF’s guarantors have stepped up to ensure that he will appear in court when asked, and that he will face the consequences of his alleged misdeeds.