February 21, 2024

SBF criminal trial moves to closing arguments

Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to all seven counts of fraud charges related to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX.

The ongoing criminal trial involving FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) will move into closing arguments on November 1. 

On Day 15 of the SBF trial, lead defense attorney Mark Cohen’s request for acquittal was denied by presiding judge Lewis Kaplan. Instead, the case will move to closing arguments from both sides at 9:30 a.m. ET (1:30 p.m. UTC) on Nov. 1, with all evidence discovery concluded. Attornies from both sides declined to call any further witnesses. 

SBF has pleaded not guilty to all seven fraud-related charges in his criminal case, but is expected to face five more counts in a second trial scheduled to start in March 2024, including the alleged $150 million bribe of a Chinese government official.

During discovery, prosecutor Danielle Sassoon presented documents, tweets, and corporate messages attesting that the crypto executive siphoned $8 billion worth of FTX customers’ deposits to fund a series of risky trades at his hedge fund, Alameda Research. SBF, on the other hand, denied that such actions constituted fraud. In his defense, SBF claimed that taking customers’ deposits was merely a “risk management” procedure necessary for Alameda’s portfolio, and the said process was in line with company policies

Key FTX personnel, such as Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX CTO Gary Wang, and former FTX head of engineering Nishad Singh, have all pled guilty to charges relating to the exchange’s collapse last November and are currently cooperating with the U.S. government in their testimonies against SBF. If convicted, Bankman-Fried faces a maximum penalty of 115 years in prison. 

Related: Sam Bankman-Fried trial [Day 15] — latest update: Live coverage