Founder of bankrupt crypto exchanger FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, pleaded not guilty in federal court in New York on Tuesday to allegations of fraud, conspiracy, campaign finance law violations, and money laundering.
This contrasts to former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and former FTX CTO Zixiao (Gary) Wang pleading guilty for their roles in a multiyear scheme to defraud investors in FTX. The two top executives of the defunct exchange are reportedly working with the authorities to put up their case against Bankman-Fried.
Aside from the plea, Bankman-Fried’s legal team also requested to redact the names and other identifying information of the co-signers of his $250 million bond. The judge granted the request without prejudice.
The prosecutors also proposed a condition that Bankman-Fried be “prohibited from accessing or transferring any FTX or Alameda assets,” which the judge approved.
Numerous regulatory and law enforcement agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, have filed formal actions against Bankman-Fried regarding his role in FTX’s fraudulent scheme and consequent implosion to bankruptcy.
“From at least May 2019 through November 2022, Bankman-Fried engaged in a scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX Trading… at the same time that he was also defrauding the platform’s customers,” the SEC said in its complaint.
Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon also said in the plea hearing that they “anticipate making a large discovery production, including from banks and political campaigns,” as well as working on procuring the custody of FTX’s Amazon Web Services database.
Considering the timelines needed to produce and peruse evidence, the court tentatively set the trial date as October 2, 2023, but said it may be moved “a day or so later or earlier.”
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