The founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, Sam Bankan-Fried, will not have the opportunity to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators. According to the US prosecutor’s office, he was not offered a plea deal.
The US prosecutor’s office did not offer Sam Bankman-Fried a plea deal. The former billionaire appeared in court on Tuesday, accused of numerous frauds to the detriment of his clients. According to defense lawyers, Bankman-Fried had no intention of making a deal with investigators and continues to maintain his innocence. However, some of the FTX co-founders’ former associates, including former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in December and cooperated with investigators.
The trial of a former billionaire
On Tuesday, the trial of the founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange began in a Manhattan court. According to American judicial doctrine, a jury is selected first.
Lawyers will select 12 jurors and six alternates from a pool of 50 potential jurors. The sides are expected to make their opening arguments on Wednesday.
Cryptocurrency exchange collapsed
FTX filed for bankruptcy in November after CoinDesk reported that its sister trading firm, Alameda Research, held the exchange’s native FTT token as a significant portion of its portfolio. Rival exchange Binance then announced that it would sell all of its token holdings, leading customers to begin withdrawing their funds from FTX.
FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas the following month and extradited to the United States, where he was charged with eight counts of fraud.
Prosecutors said Bankman-Fried planned the financial fraud. In January, Bankman-Fried was accused of illegally transferring money from FTX clients to the trading firm he founded, Alameda Research.
The former billionaire was released on $250 million bail, but in August he was sent to MDC, a prison known for poor conditions, after a judge found there was a likelihood of witness tampering. Bankman-Fried was accused of leaking diary entries from former partner and co-CEO of Alameda Research Caroline Ellison in July, which prosecutors say constituted an attempt at fraud.