Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried (C) arrives to plead before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in federal court in Manhattan, New York, January 3, 2023.
Ed Jones | AFP | Getty Images
Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in federal court in New York on Tuesday to eight counts related to the collapse of his former crypto exchange FTX and hedge fund Alameda Research.
The former crypto billionaire was charged on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, individual charges of securities fraud and wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to circumvent corporate finance regulations campaigns.
Bankman-Fried arrived outside the courthouse in a black SUV and was swarmed by cameras as soon as his car arrived. The melee grew so thick that Bankman-Fried’s mother couldn’t get out of the vehicle, falling onto the wet sidewalk as cameras scrambled to catch a glimpse of her son.
Bankman-Fried was carried by security through the crowd and into the courthouse within moments, with photographers scrambling to get out of the way.
Earlier in the day, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys filed a motion to seal the names of two people who guaranteed Bankman-Fried’s good behavior with bail. They claimed that the visibility of the case and the defendant had already put Bankman-Fried’s parents at risk and that guarantors should not be subjected to the same scrutiny. Judge Lewis Kaplan approved the motion in court.
Bankman Fried returned to the United States of the Bahamas on December 21, and the next day was released on $250 million bail, secured by his family home in California.
Federal prosecutors also announced the launch of a new task force to recover victims’ assets as part of an ongoing investigation into Bankman-Fried and the collapse of FTX.
“The Southern District of New York is working around the clock to respond to the FTX implosion,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Tuesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDNY had argued that Bankman-Fried had used $8 billion in client assets to extravagant real estate purchases and vanity projectsincluding stadium naming rights and millions of political donations.
Federal prosecutors filed the indictment against Bankman-Fried with unusual speed, consolidating the criminal charges against the 30-something within weeks. The federal charges were accompanied by complaints from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
They were assisted by two of Bankman-Fried’s closest allies, Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of his hedge fund Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX with Bankman-Fried.
Ellison, 28, and Wang, 29, pleaded guilty on December 21. Their plea deals with prosecutors came after rampant speculation that Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s former romantic partner, was cooperating with federal investigations.
Another former FTX executive, Ryan Salame, apparently first regulators alerted to alleged wrongdoing inside FTX. Salame, a former co-CEO of FTX, reported “possible mismanagement of client assets” to Bahamian regulators two days before the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy, according to a Securities Commission filing. of the Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried has been accused by federal law enforcement and financial regulators of carrying out what the SEC called one of the largest and most “brazen” frauds in recent memory. His meteoric fall was precipitated by reports which raised questions about the nature of his hedge fund balance sheet.
In the weeks since FTX filed for bankruptcy on Nov. 11 in Delaware, the extent of corporate malfeasance has come to light. Replacement CEO John J. Ray said there was a “complete failure of corporate control.“
Bankman-Fried was charged in federal court in New York on December 9 and was stopped by Bahamian law enforcement at the request of U.S. prosecutors on December 12. Following his indictment, Bankman-Fried’s legal team in the Bahamas seesaw whether or not their client consents to extradition.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.