Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried testified in his own trial but was not initially allowed to answer before the jury.
After a few days of postponement, the trial of former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried on charges of fraud and deception that led to the rapid collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange has resumed.
Opening the trial, the prosecutor of the US Department of Justice called the next witness, which was FBI agent Mark Troiano. Mark Troiano took center stage, revealing that in the period of 2021-2022, Sam Bankman-Fried participated in over 300 chat groups on the Signal app. This not only highlighted his extensive activity on this platform but also raised suspicions that he instructed employees to use Signal to conceal evidence of the exchange’s wrongdoing.
Defense attorneys attempted to dismiss the charges, but Judge Lewis Kaplan decided to proceed with the trial, endorsing the evidence and arguments presented by the prosecution.
It was the turn of the defense lawyers to call their first witness, namely attorney Krystal Rolle. She represented Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas from November 2022 to December 2022, covering the period from FTX’s bankruptcy until Sam was extradited to the United States.
Rolle revealed that shortly after FTX’s bankruptcy, the Bahamian government ordered FTX to transfer all remaining assets for management in the Bahamas. Sam Bankman-Fried complied with this request, transferring assets to designated wallets. Additionally, the former CEO of FTX agreed to be interviewed by authorities and submitted his passport to avoid the risk of fleeing.
The next witness called to the stand was Joseph Pimbley from PF2 Securities, a company specializing in bankruptcy procedures. Pimbley stated that he was hired to extract data about FTX users from AWS, with a total ranging from 9 to 11 million.
However, Pimbley admitted to being unaware of whether his data included statistics on users’ crypto assets, the “allow negative” feature enabling Alameda to withdraw funds from FTX, and claimed no contact with the defendant Sam Bankman-Fried.
When it was Sam Bankman-Fried’s turn to answer questions, the former CEO admitted to using the Signal messaging app but denied instructing employees to hide information. The narrative revolved around data retention policies and their application, as well as the establishment of the subsidiary North Dimension and managing US bank accounts.
US prosecutors posed intense questions, highlighting the sensitive aspects of FTX and Alameda Research’s operations. Sam Bankman-Fried had to explain the use of Signal, data retention policies, and the relationship between FTX and North Dimension.
Tensions escalated when prosecutors questioned Alameda’s borrowing from FTX users and withdrawing funds from the exchange. Sam Bankman-Fried tried to defend his actions; however, the testimonies of other witnesses and the judge’s approval painted a different picture.
This fiery confrontation promises to create a significant wave in the cryptocurrency and international financial legal landscape. The trial is scheduled to continue on October 27, and the biggest question remains whether Sam Bankman-Fried will escape these serious allegations or not.
Report on the trial of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried:
- Day 1&2: Opening statements by the prosecutor and defense attorney
- Day 3: Crucial witnesses Adam Yetitia, Matt Huang
- Day 4: Former Chief Technology Officer of FTX Gary Wang
- Day 5&6: Former CEO of Alameda Research Caroline Ellison
- Day 7: Caroline Ellison and former Alameda Research programmer Christian Drappi
- Day 8: BlockFi CEO Zac Prince
- Day 9: Former FTX Technical Director Nishad Singh
- Day 10: SBF met with world leaders weeks before the collapse of the FTX exchange
- Day 11: Professor of Accounting and Auditing Peter Easton
- Day 12: Former FTX legal advisor Can Sun
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