Jury selection is currently underway in Sam Bankman-Fried’s trail on fraud and conspiracy charges, nearly one year after his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, collapsed.
According to prosecutors, Bankman-Fried, who has been detained since August, is responsible for embezzling money from FTX for the benefit of his hedge fund, Alameda Research, as well as to purchase luxury properties and donate over $100 million to U.S. political candidates.
The former billionaire is alleged to have committed this embezzlement from FTX’s founding in 2019 until its bankruptcy in 2022.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers confirmed that there was never any discussion of a plea deal. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy.
The trial could last up to six weeks. The prosecution is intending to bring three people who were part of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle to testify against him. They are cooperating with Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and have already pleaded guilty to fraud charges themselves.
The defense intends to challenge these witnesses by denouncing their credibility and claiming that they are only cooperating to secure lesser sentences.
The defense's arguments will primarily revolve around their idea that FTX was not able to meet customer’s withdrawal requests because of a series of poor business decisions rather than deliberate fraud.
Bankman-Fried, 31, was indicted last December. His trial is the highest-profile case that U.S. prosecutors have brought against a former cryptocurrency manager.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.