By: Eliza Bennet
A U.S. judge partially granted federal prosecutors' request to halt the bail of John Karony, CEO of SafeMoon, according to court documents dated Nov. 9. The initial release order, issued by a Utah magistrate judge, Daphne A. Oberg, stipulated a $500,000 bond, conditions of house arrest, and restrictions on financial activities. However, prosecutors flagged the substantial financial resources and overseas connections held by the CEO, arguing he posed a flight risk.
According to the prosecutors, Karony has assets worth millions of dollars, including a Utah home being sold for $1.5 million, luxury items, and money in a certain company, which were not considered while setting the bail. They emphasized that Karony made twelve trips to Europe in slightly over two years, indicating his strong ties outside the U.S. and preference for staying overseas.
On Nov. 1, allegations surfaced that Karony and his team had committed securities fraud, conspired to commit wire fraud, and engaged in money laundering conspiracy. The executives allegedly manipulated SafeMoon's prices and misused millions of dollars locked in SafeMoon’s liquidity pools on personal luxuries and investments. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, charging parallel offenses, suggested that the total misappropriation might amount to $200 million.
Nevertheless, Karony's criminal case continues. While his bail being suspended does not entail remaining in custody until trial, prosecutors have asserted that his overseas ties may hinder his appearance in future court proceedings. Further decisions—like transferring Karony to the Eastern District of New York—are still on the judge's table.
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