• Bankman-Fried was caught using a VPN on Super Bowl Sunday
  • His legal team said he only used it "to access an NFL Game Pass international subscription"
  • Bankman-Fried's next hearing is set to take place Thursday

Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled founder of the now-bankrupt crypto empire FTX, has been ordered to appear in court for the second time in a week following prosecutors' discovery of his use of a virtual private network (VPN), which could violate his bail terms.

Bankman-Fried's next hearing, scheduled for Thursday, was set after government lawyers submitted a letter revealing that the former FTX CEO used the VPN twice to access the internet. A VPN is a service that allows users to stay private online by encrypting their internet traffic and disguising their online identity.

In a letter submitted to the court, prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried used the VPN just a few days after U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan forbade him from using encrypted messaging apps like Signal.

"The defendant's use of a VPN presents many of the same risks associated with his use of an encrypted messaging or call application," Kaplan said during the hearing on Feb. 7.

The judge only asked Bankman-Fried to refrain from using a VPN after it was properly debated in court.

Bankman-Fried was reportedly caught using the VPN on Super Bowl Sunday when his pen register on his personal Gmail account was found to be connected to the virtual private network.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle R. Sassoon said in the letter that "while many individuals use a VPN for benign purposes," Bankman-Fried's charges raise "several concerns" on his use of this particular technology, which, after all, utilizes encryption to enable users to mask their IP address.

However, Bankman-Fried's legal team claimed that their client only used a VPN "to access an NFL Game Pass international subscription that he had previously purchased when he resided in the Bahamas so that he could watch NFL playoff games," which included the Super Bowl fight between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kaplan added the use of a VPN to the list of prohibited internet activities on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The court previously prohibited Bankman-Fried from using encrypted messaging apps to prevent him from communicating with former FTX employees, whom he could intimidate or influence.

Kaplan ruled that the use of a VPN "presents many of the same challenges."

Bankman-Fried is currently facing multiple criminal charges related to the spectacular implosion of the once most trusted brand in crypto, FTX.

He was released on bail on Dec. 22, 2022, following his extradition from the Bahamas.

Bankman-Fried attends a hearing on FTX fraud case in New York City