FTX boss Sam Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty on eight charges
$32 billion cryptocurrency failure on the dock
Former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges on Tuesday and is expected to stand trial on 2 October.
The 30-year-old Stanford graduate was charged with wire fraud on customers, conspiracy to commit wire, securities, commodities, money laundering, and to defraud the US and violate the campaign finance laws.
Fried, known by his initials SBF, has become a media spectacle following the swift downfall of FTX Exchange. The company, once valued at $32 billion, has been accused of secretly funneling customer funds to invest and cover losses incurred by its subsidiary hedge fund unit Alameda Research, defrauding users and investors in the process.
After it declared bankruptcy last year in November, federal prosecutors quickly whipped up a case against SBF and his former aides, co-founder of FTX Gary Wang, and Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, who have since turned against him to collaborate with the FBI.
SBF pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges during a court appearance at the US District Court in New York, Manhattan, paving the way for a lengthy trial scheduled to begin later this year. By pleading not guilty, SBF's legal team will be allowed to see what evidence prosecutors have against him allowing them to better prepare for the legal proceedings.
- FTX CTO and Alameda Research CEO admit fraud, pair 'cooperating' with Feds
- FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried charged with fraud by just about everyone
- Bahamian rap: Crypto villain Sam Bankman-Fried arrested
- FTX Japan would let customers withdraw funds … if only anyone could log in
He is also facing civil complaints from the Securities Exchange Commission [PDF] and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The latter accused Wang of building features in FTX's trading code allowing a backdoor giving Alameda access to an "essentially unlimited line of credit".
Ellison allegedly used this money to make risky trades, pay off debts, and cover other expenses. SBF was also accused of misappropriating customer funds to fund millions of dollars in donations to federal political candidates.
Wang and Ellison pleaded guilty to fraud charges last month. The collapse of FTX sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency industry, and led to several other firms suspending withdrawals to stem their losses.
SBF was arrested 12 December in the Bahamas and released on a $250 million bond. US District Judge Lewis Kaplan approved his request to withhold the names of two people set to sign on as sureties to his bail package, although the judge said this was without prejudice to any "anticipated opposition from the news media." Reporters filed court documents [PDF] in opposition the same day. ®