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NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Wednesday temporarily barred FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried from contacting current or former employees of the cryptocurrency exchange or his Alameda Research hedge fund, and from using encrypted messaging tools including Signal.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan came after federal prosecutors in Manhattan said Bankman-Fried might tamper with witnesses or destroy evidence in his criminal fraud case. He was arrested in December on charges of looting billions of FTX customer funds, and lying to investors and lenders.
Bankman-Fried, 30, has been under house arrest at his parents' California home after pleading not guilty. His lawyers said last week that his efforts to contact the general counsel of an FTX affiliate and the company's current chief executive were attempts to offer "assistance" and not to interfere.
Kaplan wrote that the new restrictions on Bankman-Fried's conduct would be in place until at least Feb. 7, when he would hold a hearing to consider both sides' arguments. (Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis)