The fate of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried currently hangs in the balance as his defense counsel rounded off their arguments on Tuesday. Bankman had spent the past four weeks in a lower Manhattan courtroom as he stood trial for fraud charges and his alleged involvement in the collapse of FTX exchange and investment arm Alameda Research in November 2022.
Although he, SBF, only spent three days on the witness stand, his testimony effectively ended on Tuesday morning.
This means that a decision is nearing on whether the one-time crypto billionaire did have a hand and was criminally responsible for all the misappropriation of customer funds that allegedly took place in FTX.
The 31-year-old faces a potential life imprisonment if found guilty, however, Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Closing arguments are set to begin today November 1, even as jurors are expected to kickstart their deliberations right after.
Sam Bankman-Fried ‘Knows Nothing’
In Tuesday’s session, lead prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon turned on the heat by questioning the relationship that SBF had with the Bahamian government.
Recall that the Bahamas was home to the FTX exchange and many of Bankman-Fried’s close associates. So Sassoon asked if there was more to the relationship that SBF had with the government that would make him offer to pay off more than $11 billion in national debt for the Bahamas.
More than that, Sassoon also questioned the privileged experiences of Prime Minister Philip Davies, who at a time visited Miami and attended a Heat basketball game at the FTX arena. The prosecutor also mentioned how, at a point, FTX only allowed customer withdrawals for Bahamians.
In his usual style, since the trials began, SBF had little or nothing to say. While he didn’t admit to anything, he subtly claimed ignorance, frequently saying he was unaware.
About the major case with FTX where there was an $8 billion hole in the exchange’s balance sheet, again, SBF said that he didn’t know. Bankman-Fried attempted to push the blame onto his former employees with claims that he never took a deep look at such documents given to him. Admittedly though, he said he “deeply” regretted not doing so.
Then there is the issue of luxury lifestyle that the prosecution also pointed out. The prosecution mentioned that Bankman-Fried ‘excessively’ used a private jet. However, the defendant argued that the travels were usually business-related, and ones that he thought were valid expenses as a CEO.
Bankman-Fried would be hoping that his claims of ignorance would be enough to convince the twelve individuals who would preside over his criminal case.
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