Sam Bankman-Fried: ‘I am innocent’

Last Updated: 4 January 2023

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried says he is innocent in the large-scale fraud case in which he is the lead. The trial starts in October this year, reports news agency Bloomberg. It is the most talked-about white-collar fraud since the 2008 Lehmann Brothers case.

SBF had travelled to New York today (Tuesday) to appear before Judge Lewis Kaplan, accompanied by his lawyers Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell. The trial date has been set for 2 October. Prosecutors expect to have collected all the evidence within the next four weeks.

The fact that the trial will not take place until October is not unfavourable for SBF as he has more time to prepare and find out what evidence has been collected against him.

He is suspected of large-scale fraud, including misusing hundreds of millions of dollars in customer funds to speculate through subsidiary Alameda Research. Several investigations by various authorities such as the prosecution, the Securities & Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission are now ongoing. The latter have initiated civil proceedings against him, including for violating various securities and derivatives laws.

Saliently, the key witnesses that prosecutors are going to call include former Alameda Research top executive Caroline Ellison, also SBF’s ex-girlfriend, and his former FTX associate Gary Wang. Ellison and Wang have both since pleaded guilty and given extensive statements to authorities in exchange for reduced sentences.

SBF was extradited to the US last month and released on a $250 million bail package. He resides with his parents in Palo Alto, California.

  • Gabriele Spapperi

    Gabriele Spapperi is a veteran cryptocurrency investor and blockchain technology specialist. He became fascinated with Bitcoin and distributed ledgers while studying computer science at MIT in 2011.

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