This Week: Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s Criminal Trial Starts

FTX’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried stands trial for cryptocurrency fraud charges, facing allegations of embezzlement and deception.

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  • Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), former CEO of FTX, is currently on trial for fraud and conspiracy charges in New York, with American prosecutors alleging that his cryptocurrency empire was a “fraudulent structure built on deception.” 
  • SBF has pleaded not guilty, and his defense argues that he did not intend to embezzle customers’ funds but was overwhelmed by his businesses’ rapid growth..
  • The jury selected for the trial is diverse, comprising individuals from different professional backgrounds and life stages. However, their limited cryptocurrency knowledge and potential personal biases could pose challenges in understanding the case’s technical aspects and reaching an impartial judgment.

Nearly ten months after being extradited to the United States, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is now scheduled to appear in court to face his criminal charges.

SBF Trial

SBF has pleaded not guilty.

His trial on fraud and conspiracy charges commenced on Wednesday, October 4, at 12:30 p.m. in New York, with American prosecutors characterizing his collapsed cryptocurrency empire as a “fraudulent structure built on deception.” 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan Rehn informed the 12-person jury that the government would present compelling evidence and expert witnesses to demonstrate that the former cryptocurrency leader had “deceived his customers” and utilized their funds to acquire “wealth, authority, and sway” for himself.

On the other hand, SBF defense argued that the former founder of FTX and Alameda Research did not have any intention to embezzle customers’ funds. They claimed that he was merely overwhelmed by the rapid growth of his businesses. Mark Cohen, the lead lawyer for the defense, told the jury that Bankman-Fried “acted in good faith” and did not engage in any fraudulent activities.

On October 5, Gary Wang, one of the co-founders of FTX, testified that he, along with Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, Caroline Ellison, and Nishad Singh, engaged in multiple fraudulent activities, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud. 

Furthermore, Wang disclosed that FTX granted special privileges to Alameda Research, allowing it to withdraw unlimited funds from FTX while deliberately concealing these actions.

Other witnesses against Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) include Marc-Antoine Julliard, an investor who lost over $100,000 in cash and Bitcoin during FTX’s downfall. Julliard expressed his belief that FTX would ensure the safety of his funds. Another witness, Adam Yedidia, a former colleague of Bankman-Fried’s at Alameda and FTX, testified under immunity that he quit just before FTX filed for bankruptcy upon discovering that customer funds had been diverted to Alameda. He also discussed allegations of lavish apartments in the Bahamas purchased with FTX customer money.

Trial Jurors

TechCrunch reported that the 12 jurors selected for the trial comprised a diverse group, consisting of nine women and three men, with ages spanning from 33 to 69 years old. While respecting their privacy, the publication provided some general details about each juror, introduced in the courtroom during the trial proceedings.

  1.  39-year-old female physician assistant, 10 weeks pregnant with a background in medicine, husband does web development.
  2.  33-year-old female nurse who lives alone in Westchester, New York.
  3.  40-year-old female social worker who’s currently unemployed; previously served as a juror.
  4.  53-year-old female Duke University graduate, divorced stay-at-home mother of two kids, previously worked in nonprofits managing fundraisers.
  5.  59-year-old male, married with three kids; one of his children works at a bank;  previously served as a juror.
  6.  50-year-old female Metro North train conductor and mother of five kids with three living at home and two in college; previously served as a juror.
  7.  47-year-old female high school librarian, single and lives with her cats, sister and sick mother.
  8.  65-year-old female retired corrections officer and mother of three kids.
  9.  61-year-old male U.S. Postal Service employee, no wife, no kids;  previously served as a juror.
  10.   43-year-old female from Ukraine, who does IT at Bloomberg and has been in the U.S. for 15 years and is divorced with two kids.
  11.   55-year-old female special education teacher, formerly from Bermuda where she did banking, attended Waterloo University for undergraduate and got master’s degrees from NYU and Seton Hall University.
  12.   69-year-old male, retired investment banker from Hong Kong, attended Rice University and Stanford University, has a wife and no children, and diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The jury for the case presents a diverse group with varying professional backgrounds and life stages, which can offer a range of perspectives. However, the potential challenge lies in their limited cryptocurrency knowledge, potentially making it difficult to grasp the technical and financial intricacies of the case. Furthermore, personal biases and varying degrees of familiarity with financial markets could influence their perception and judgment of the case.

FTX Collapse Timeline as Covered by BitPinas

This article is published on BitPinas: Ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s Criminal Trial Starts


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