FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried plans to plead not guilty, according to the report
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of banking cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and is expected to plead not guilty to defrauding customers and investors, according to a report by Reuters.
The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has charged Bankman-Fried with eight counts of fraud, money laundering and other financial crimes. Bankman-Fried, who resigned as CEO of FTX in November, also violated political donation laws by donating to candidates and committees in New York under someone else’s name, authorities said.
The 30-year-old’s indictment in a Manhattan federal court will mark the second time he has faced a judge since FTX, until recently the world’s second-largest platform for buying and selling digital currencies, filed for bankruptcy in November. He posted $250 million bail last month and has since been under house arrest at his parents’ home in California awaiting trial. Bankman-Fried’s parents used their home’s equity as collateral for the bond.
Prosecutors alleged that Bankman-Fried intentionally deceived clients by using their crypto assets to pay off debts and expenses incurred by FTX’s hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Alameda crypto wallets began moving funds from the platform a few days after Bankman-Fried posted a deposit, according to Coin Telegraph. This led to speculation on social media that he might be behind the withdrawals, a claim Bankman-Fried denied on Twitter.
“Neither of these am I,” he tweeted on Friday. “I am not and could not move any of these funds. I no longer have access to it.”
I’m none of that. I will not and could not move any of these funds; I no longer have access to it.https://t.co/5Gkin30Ny5
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) December 30, 2022
Bankman-Fried also said he wasn’t sure who made the withdrawals.
“I believe it is likely the case that various legitimate branches of FTX have the ability to access these funds,” he tweeted. “Hopefully this happens here. If not, then hopefully someone will intervene soon.”
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Legal experts expect a lengthy court battle in the Bankman-Fried case, in which prosecutors will have to prove that he deliberately defrauded FTX customers of their crypto assets. Gary Wang, the company’s co-founder, and Carolyn Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda, have already pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
Ellison and Wang are expected to serve as government witnesses during the Bankman-Fried trial, prosecutors say said Last month.
FTX clients filed a lawsuit against the company last week, hoping to gain priority status once bankruptcy proceedings are complete and remaining assets divided.
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