The Trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, Explained


On October 3, Sam Bankman-Fried, founding father of bankrupt crypto trade FTX, is because of go on trial for fraud and conspiracy in a courtroom within the Southern District of New York.

Final fall, a report revealed by information outlet CoinDesk solid doubt over the well being of FTX’s sibling firm, Alameda Analysis, with which it had unusually shut ties. When clients rushed to drag cash out of the trade, FTX couldn’t meet withdrawals. After a rescue deal from rival trade Binance fell by, FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 11. A month later, Bankman-Fried was arrested within the Bahamas, the place FTX was headquartered, and extradited to the US.

The Division of Justice has filed a complete of 13 legal costs in opposition to Bankman-Fried, seven of which shall be heard on the preliminary trial. (A second will comply with in March 2024.) In the meantime, courtroom filings within the legal case in opposition to Bankman-Fried, civil circumstances filed by US monetary regulators, and the FTX chapter continuing have shone a light-weight on the occasions and situations that led to the evaporation of billions of {dollars}’ value of buyer funds.

FTX couldn’t meet withdrawals, the DOJ alleges, as a result of Bankman-Fried had mismanaged and misappropriated funds that have been used to bankroll dangerous buying and selling exercise; make loans to himself and others; interact in investments, acquisitions, actual property purchases, advertising and marketing campaigns, and political donations; and repair debt.

In January, Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to every of the seven costs. He has spent a lot of the intervening interval underneath home arrest however was taken into custody in August after the prosecution alleged he was tampering with witnesses. If convicted on the finish of the trial, which is anticipated to final round a month, the one-time crypto wunderkind may face a long time in jail.

Dramatis Personae

Bankman-Fried is accused of orchestrating the alleged fraud at FTX. However the trade and Alameda Analysis have been run by a small internal circle of lieutenants, a few of whom have pleaded responsible to associated offenses and are anticipated to testify at his trial. The trade’s rise and fall additionally drew in different main gamers within the crypto world.

Sam Bankman-Fried

The founder and CEO of FTX and the founding father of Alameda Analysis, a buying and selling agency whose shut relationship with the trade is central to the alleged fraud. He faces 13 legal costs, seven of which shall be heard on the preliminary trial.

Caroline Ellison

The CEO of Alameda Analysis and on-and-off romantic associate of Bankman-Fried. The pair met at Jane Road, a quantitative buying and selling agency the place they each labored after school. She has pleaded guilty to seven criminal charges, together with wire fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and cash laundering.

Sam Trabucco

The co-CEO of Alameda Analysis alongside Ellison, Trabucco left the submit three months earlier than the collapse of FTX. The DOJ has not accused Trabucco of any wrongdoing, and it’s unclear whether or not he’s cooperating with prosecutors. His whereabouts are unknown.

Gary Wang

The cofounder of FTX and Alameda Analysis and CTO for each companies. Wang met Bankman-Fried in highschool, and the pair have been later roommates at MIT. He has pleaded guilty to four criminal charges, together with wire fraud and conspiracy.

Nishad Singh

The director of engineering at FTX. Singh labored as an engineer at Meta earlier than being headhunted by Bankman-Fried. He has pleaded guilty to six criminal charges, together with wire fraud, securities and commodities fraud, and cash laundering.

Changpeng Zhao (or CZ)

The CEO of Binance, the world’s largest crypto trade, whose relationship with Bankman-Fried had turn into more and more fraught within the lead-up to the autumn of FTX. Bankman-Fried blamed tweets Zhao made for having precipitated the run on deposits that triggered FTX to crumble. The prosecution could refer to those tweets because it frames occasions for the jury. Zhao is coping with his personal authorized points: US regulators charged Binance earlier this 12 months with a litany of violations, and the DOJ is reportedly investigating too.

John J. Ray III

The lawyer now tasked with steering FTX and its subsidiaries by chapter. Ray established a fame as a restructuring savant after overseeing the liquidation of Enron, an organization that engaged in in depth accounting and company fraud. The prosecution could cite supplies Ray compiled as a part of the FTX chapter investigation to help its case in opposition to Bankman-Fried.

Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman

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