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Lawyers for SBF argued that much of what he did was in “good faith”, while the prosecution claimed that Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX empire was “built on lies”.
Sam Bankman-Fried is facing seven counts of fraud, criminal conspiracy, and embezzlement, and if convicted could spend up to 100 years in prison.
Opening remarks were made in the New York Federal Courtroom on Wednesday. Over the time of the session lawyers for both sides put forward their opening arguments for what is one of the biggest financial fraud cases ever.
Thane Rehn, for the prosecution, argued that Sam Bankman-Fried had carried out “massive fraud” by way of moving assets from the FTX exchange customer accounts and transferring them to his own account.
Mark Cohen, acting for the defence, said that “Sam didn’t defraud anyone” and that “there was no theft”. The lawyer acknowledged that funds had gone to Alameda, but stated that this was for investment purposes and not to embezzle.
Things got overlooked
Cohen explained that Sam Bankman-Fried had to make many, many decisions on a daily basis and that “some things got overlooked”. He argued several times over the day that SBF’s actions were made “in good faith”.
Caroline Ellison is key witness
Instead, Caroline Ellison, the former girlfriend of SBF, and the Head of Alameda Research, was blamed for not following SBFs advice to hedge against a downward turn in the cryptocurrency market. Ellison has agreed to cooperate with the Manhattan federal prosecutor after pleading guilty to seven charges.
The prosecution accused SBF of acting as though he were no longer in charge of Alameda and said that this was just a front. The prosecution has also stated that Caroline Ellison will testify during the trial that “she and the defendant stole money from FTX customers.”
The trial will be followed with supreme interest, given that this is one of the biggest crypto exchanges to fall, and given the sheer size of the assets that were alleged to have been stolen.
Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.