In what the prosecution has dubbed a “epic” fraud, Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of defrauding investors in his now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange and causing billions of dollars in losses. On Tuesday, he entered a not guilty plea.
He entered his plea in federal court in Manhattan, where he is accused of eight crimes, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. The 30-year-old ex-mogul is accused of using the deposits from FTX customers to fund his hedge fund Alameda Research, purchase real estate, and make millions of dollars in political donations.
A trial for Sam Bankman-Fried is set for October after he enters a not guilty plea.
Sam Bankman-Fried is charged with scamming investors in his now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange and incurring billions of dollars in damages in what the prosecution has labelled a “epic” fraud. He filed a not guilty plea on Tuesday.
He filed his plea in federal court in Manhattan, where he is charged with eight offences, including money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The 30-year-old former tycoon is charged with utilising FTX clients’ cash to finance his hedge fund Alameda Research, buy real estate, and give millions of dollars to political campaigns.
Two former key associates of Bankman- Fried’s, former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and former FTX Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang, who are collaborating with prosecutors and could testify at trial, have already entered guilty pleas on behalf of the government.
a freshly-shaven In contrast to the shorts and t-shirts that were his favoured attire when he managed FTX from the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried entered the courtroom wearing a blue suit, a white shirt, and a blue tie with dotted blue accents while toting a rucksack.
During the hearing, Bankman-Fried spoke with his attorneys in private rather than the judge. Before the arraignment, he shook hands with a prosecutor. He addressed the few courtroom sketch artists after it was over and offered some feedback on their work.
If found guilty, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus could spend up to 115 years behind bars. He has already admitted to making errors while working for FTX but has maintained that he is not guilty of any crimes.
Bankman-Fried amassed a net worth of an estimated $26 billion and rose to prominence as a political donor in the United States by capitalising on the rise in the value of bitcoin and other digital assets.
After a spike in withdrawals, FTX crashed early in November and filed for bankruptcy on November 11, wiping out Bankman’s Fortune. Later, Fried claimed to have $100,000 in his checking account.
He lived in the Bahamas, where the exchange was situated, and was extradited there last month.
Electronic monitoring and living with his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, both Stanford Law School professors, have been mandated since Bankman-Fried were released on a $250 million bond on December 22. Tuesday’s hearing for Fried’s son was attended.
Tuesday, Kaplan added a new bail requirement that forbade Bankman-Fried from using FTX or Alameda assets.
Sassoon had earlier charged Bankman-Fried with attempting to move assets to an unnamed foreign nation that he believed to be “more tolerant.” Although she claimed there was no proof Bankman-Fried had carried out the transactions, she said authorities were also looking into claims from late last month that money had been transferred out of bitcoin wallets in Alameda.
The banker’s attorney, Fried’s Mark Cohen, claimed that his client “did not make” the transactions to and from Alameda. Regarding the charge that Bankman-Fried attempted to send money abroad, he claimed that his client had attempted to abide by a court order in the Bahamas that had, a month prior, temporarily seized some FTX assets.
The Bahamas’ financial watchdog, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB), did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to Christina Rolle, the executive director of the commission, the SCB ordered Bankman-Fried and Wang to transfer assets in November. Rolle made this claim in an affidavit she submitted to the Bahamas Supreme Court on December 29. Liquidators have been hired by the Bahamas to close down FTX’s global trading operation.
On Tuesday, Kaplan also agreed to Bankman’s request that Fried’s withhold the identities of the bond’s additional two co-signers.
Bankman-attorneys Fried’s claim is that since FTX’s demise, his parents, who co-signed the bond, have received physical threats and that additional co-signers may experience similar harassment.