ftx crypto sam bankman fried Arrested news
FTX crypto Sam Bankman Fried, a former cryptocurrency CEO, has appeared in court in New York to defend himself against accusations that his collapsed financial empire was “built on lies.”
On Wednesday, the prosecution informed the court that the former FTX CEO had stolen billions from investors and clients in order to “commit fraud on a massive scale.”
His attorneys claim the alleged “crypto king” is a “math nerd” who was acting in “good faith” and that he is innocent of all allegations.
It is anticipated that the landmark trial will last around six weeks.
After creating FTX in 2019, once among the top cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, Mr. Bankman-Fried gained notoriety.
As the trial began, chief prosecutor Thane Rehn told the crowded Manhattan courtroom that Sam Bankman-Fried appeared to be triumphant.
Everything was founded on lies.
In Washington, DC, Mr. Bankman-Fried established himself as a sort of cryptocurrency spokesperson, becoming well-known for his curly hair, sports sponsorships, and celebrity sightings.
He saved smaller businesses in 2022 as the markets for digital currencies tanked, earning him the moniker “King of Crypto.”
But a few months later, when FTX filed for bankruptcy and billions were believed to have vanished, he was detained and accused of fraud.
The 31-year-old is accused of committing one of the biggest financial crimes in US history, one that involves the theft of billions through wire fraud and money laundering.
The main accusation is that he used client money to support dangerous bets he made in his trading company, Alameda Research, and to support a lavish lifestyle.
If proven guilty, he may spend decades in prison.
Following the selection of 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of 45 candidates, the trial began on Wednesday.
Authorities allege that Mr. Bankman-Fried stole more than $10 billion (£8.2 billion) from gullible FTX consumers.
He was defrauding thousands of people out of billions of dollars, according to Mr. Rehn.
“He poured money – other people’s money – into his own investments to try and make himself even richer,” he continued.
Although Mr. Bankman-Fried has acknowledged there was poor management at the company in media interviews, he has insisted he did not pilfer any money.
During the opening statements of the defense team, his attorney Mark Cohen responded, “There was no theft.”
Sam didn’t commit any fraud. Sam didn’t mean to cheat anybody. Sam made a sincere effort.
The US Department of Justice claims that Mr. Bankman-Fried spent extravagantly with consumer money left at FTX, making more than $100 million in political donations and purchasing real estate.
He is also accused of misrepresenting to banks and investors about the connections between the two businesses while using the funds to cover losses at Alameda Research.
According to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s attorneys, his business operations were “reasonable” and he followed legal counsel at critical junctures.
Being the CEO of a business that later filed for bankruptcy is not illegal, according to Mr. Cohen, his attorney.
He said that accusations made by prosecutors about FTX and Alameda’s demise were “out of context” and that due to the rapid pace of his company’s expansion, some important issues like risk management were “overlooked”.
To “make things work”, Mr. Bankman-Fried was “willing to give up everything he personally owned,” he claimed.
Although he was known for wearing casual clothing, he appeared in court wearing a grey suit and was frequently spotted talking with his attorneys.
The trial was being watched by his parents, who are professors of law at Stanford, but he never seemed to turn to face them.
His ex-girlfriend and former Alameda executive Caroline Ellison is among the four of his closest business associates and allies who have already entered guilty pleas.
Three witnesses against him are anticipated.
French national Marc-Antoine Julliard, a former FTX customer who claimed to have lost $133,000, was the first witness to provide testimony for the prosecution.
He claimed to be a commodities trader who understood the dangers of investing in cryptocurrencies and was willing to bear the cost of any losses.
“If I trade, I’m responsible for my own decisions,” he said in front of the jury.
But he said that he had never given the possibility that someone else would trade with his money into account.
“That’s not what I signed up for,” he declared.