FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to testify at his fraud trial

October 25, 2023

Attorneys for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried told a New York federal judge Wednesday that the their client will take the witness stand as part of the defense case in his ongoing multibillion-dollar fraud trial.

The move comes after Bankman-Fried’s defense team was able to secure him with an adequate supply of his ADHD medication. The defense had previously argued that inadequate access to the medication obstructed his ability to participate in his defense. Bankman-Fried has been in state custody since his bail was revoked over accusations of witness tampering in August.

The prosecution in the case has argued that Bankman-Fried set up massive campaign-finance fraud scheme to buy favorable treatment in Washington DC for his crypto empire.

According to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, Bankman-Fried paid out more than $100 million in funds stolen from FTX customers then illegally routed much of that money through two top lieutenants to maximize his influence in Washington.  

In other words, prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried committed fraud by misallocating customer funds, then he conducted a vast, illegal influence-peddling scheme with that money.

The 31-year-old faces seven criminal counts, including wire fraud and conspiracy, in connection with events that caused $8.7 billion of FTX customer money to go missing. He was arrested in the Bahamas in December.

All of his key lieutenants at both FTX and its sister trading company, Alameda Research, have pled guilty and reportedly have flipped on Bankman-Fried. 

His cryptocurrency empire imploded last year and FTX, which had once been valued at $32 billion, declared bankruptcy in November, leaving his customers unable to withdraw their money and his investors with little recourse.

In addition to the criminal case against Bankman-Fried, numerous lawyers are representing over a million former FTX customers and creditors in the bankruptcy preceding, trying to claw back an estimated $8.7 billion in expenditures, including payouts to more than 300 political contributions to many members of Congress and outside groups. 

In a court filing Tuesday evening, Bankman-Fried’s team said it was prepared to begin its defense as soon as the government finishes its case, when could be as early as Thursday morning. 

The defense plans to call four witnesses altogether, including Bankman-Freid. 

PHOTO: Sam Bankman-Fried in 2021

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