Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty in New York federal court Tuesday to eight counts related to the collapse of his former cryptocurrency exchange. FTX and the hedge fund Alameda Research.
The former crypto billionaire was accused 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 campaign finance regulations.
Judge Lewis Kaplan proposed October 2 as the start date for the Bankman-Fried trial.
Bankman-Fried arrived outside the courthouse in a black SUV and was surrounded by cameras from the moment his vehicle arrived. The scrum became so dense that Bankman-Fried’s mother was unable to get out of the car and fell onto the wet pavement as cameras scrambled to catch her son.
Bankman-Fried was dragged by security through the crowd and into the courthouse in a matter of 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 had secured Bankman-Fried’s release on bail with a bond. They argued that the visibility of the case and the defendant had already posed a risk to Bankman-Fried’s parents, and that guarantors should not be subjected to the same scrutiny. Kaplan approved the motion in court.
US attorney Danielle Sassoon told the court that Bankman-Fried had worked with foreign regulators to transfer assets that FTX’s US management had been trying to recover through Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
Regulators in the Bahamas and American lawyers for FTX have been fighting for weeks in Delaware bankruptcy court over hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. FTX’s lawyers insist that regulators in the Bahamas illegally transferred hundreds of millions of dollars and that Bankman-Fried helped them.
Bahamian regulators say local laws give them jurisdiction over those assets and question the validity of US Chapter 11 proceedings.
Federal prosecutors appear to agree with FTX’s US attorneys. Sassoon asked Kaplan to impose a new restriction barring Bankman-Fried from transferring or accessing FTX client assets. The judge also approved that motion.
bankman-fried returned to the United States from the Bahamas on December 21, and was released the next day on a $250 million recognition bond, secured by his family’s California home.
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 FTX collapse.
“The Southern District of New York is working around the clock to respond to the FTX implosion,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Tuesday.
The US attorney’s office for SDNY had argued that Bankman-Fried used $8 billion in client assets for extravagant real estate purchases Y vanity projectsincluding stadium naming rights and millions in political donations.
Federal prosecutors filed the indictment against Bankman-Fried with unusual speed, bringing together the criminal charges against the 30-year-old in a matter of weeks. The federal charges came along with complaints from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Y the Securities and Exchange Commission.
They were assisted by two of Bankman-Fried’s closest allies, Caroline Ellison, a former CEO of his Alameda Research hedge fund, and Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX with Bankman-Fried.
Ellison, 28, and Wang, 29, pleaded guilty on December 21. His plea bargains with prosecutors came after rampant speculation that Bankman-Fried’s former romantic partner Ellison was cooperating with federal investigations.
Another former FTX executive, Ryan Salame, apparently first alerted regulators to alleged wrongdoing within FTX. Salame, former co-CEO of FTX, flagged “potential mishandling of client assets” to Bahamian regulators two days before the cryptocurrency exchange filed for bankruptcy, according to a filing from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Bahamas. the Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried was charged by federal police and financial regulators with carrying out what the SEC called one of the biggest and “blatant” frauds in recent memory. His impressive fall was precipitated by reporting which raised questions about the nature of his hedge fund balance sheet.
In the weeks since FTX’s Delaware filing for bankruptcy on November 11, the extent of Bankman-Fried’s alleged misconduct has been exposed. Replacement CEO John J. Ray said there was a “total failure of corporate control.“
Bankman-Fried was indicted in New York federal court on December 9 and was arrested by Bahamas police at the request of US prosecutors on December 12. Following his indictment, Bankman-Fried’s legal team in the Bahamas flip flops about whether or not his client would consent to extradition.