Cointelegraph reporters are on the bottom in New York for the trial of former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried. Because the saga unfolds, test under for the most recent updates.
Oct. 5: Yedidia cross-examination in focus
— Cointelegraph (@Cointelegraph) October 5, 2023
A legal responsibility of $8 billion from Alameda to FTX was on the middle of prosecutors’ cross-examination of Adam Yedidia on Oct. 5. Yedidia is an in depth good friend of Sam Bankman-Fried and was a developer at FTX. He was additionally one in every of ten individuals to reside in Bankman-Fried’s $35 million luxurious resort within the Bahamas.
In keeping with Yedidia’s testimony, since early 2021, FTX used an Alameda account labeled North Dimension to deposit customers’ funds whereas dealing with difficulties opening its personal checking account. Funds could be thought of Alameda’s legal responsibility towards FTX, which reached $8 billion in June 2022.
Whereas Yedidia was conscious of the funds despatched to Alameda’s account, he did not see it as a priority when he first heard about it in 2021. Nevertheless, after studying concerning the legal responsibility quantity in 2022, he voiced his considerations to Bankman-Fried throughout a tennis sport. In keeping with Yedidia, Bankman-Fried mentioned the debt ought to be settled between the businesses inside six months to a few years.
“I trusted Sam, Caroline, and others in Alameda to deal with the state of affairs,” he mentioned, answering questions from prosecutors. Upon studying that Alameda was not solely holding the funds, however utilizing them to pay its debtors, Yedidia resigned in November 2022.
Whereas prosecutors used the case as an instance how the businesses had been commingling funds, Bankman-Fried’s protection counsel sought to share a broader image of FTX and Alameda’s relationship with the jury.
The protection highlighted that FTX was rising quick, with its management working over 10 hours a day through the 2021 bull market, together with Bankman-Fried, who oversaw a number of components of the corporate on the time.
The protection counsel additionally identified that Yedidia had been underneath a number of inquiries from prosecutors underneath an immunity order, which means cooperation with prosecutors would defend him from dealing with any costs concerning his function at FTX.
Additionally, based on Bankman-Fried’s protection, FTX’s difficulties opening a checking account and its reliance on Alameda’s North Dimension to deposit funds had been well-known. Yedidia’s cross-examination will resume this afternoon within the federal courtroom in decrease Manhattan.
Oct. 4: DOJ and Bankman-Fried’s protection state their arguments
The primary hours of SBF’s trial have supplied a glimpse of the arguments the USA Division of Justice (DOJ) and the previous FTX CEO’s protection will convey to courtroom within the coming weeks.
After a jury choice within the morning, each events gave opening statements to the 12-person jury current within the courtroom.
The DOJ took a tricky stance towards Bankman-Fried in its first assertion, portraying the FTX founder as somebody who intentionally lied to traders to complement himself and broaden his crypto empire.
In keeping with the DOJ, Bankman-Fried lied to FTX prospects and traders, utilizing Alameda as a key associate to “steal prospects’ funds,” a phrase that was steadily used through the opening statements.
As per the trial preview, the DOJ will focus its arguments on allegations that Bankman-Fried misled prospects, traders and lenders concerning the security of their funds whereas utilizing Alameda to steal their cash and affect politicians in Washington.
The protection, in the meantime, introduced arguments about Bankman-Fried being a younger entrepreneur who made enterprise choices that “didn’t work out.” The protection denied the existence of secret transactions between Alameda and FTX or a backdoor used to steal buyer funds. In keeping with the earlier arguments introduced, all transactions had been reputable or made in good religion by Bankman-Fried through the crypto market downturn and the following collapse of FTX in November 2022.
The protection additionally highlighted the function of Binance within the financial institution run that led to FTX’s collapse. Testimonies will proceed all through the day.
In keeping with the protection, Bankman-Fried assumed FTX was allowed to mortgage funds to Alameda as a part of a enterprise relationship with the market maker, and there was no secret door for transactions between the businesses.
Prosecutors additionally famous that Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh will supply the jury insider particulars about Bankman-Fried’s function in FTX’s operations and alleged crimes. Nevertheless, the protection identified that as a part of the cooperation settlement with the federal government, they had been supposed to present testimony towards Bankman-Fried, elevating doubts about their credibility.
The protection additionally downplayed the accusations towards the character of the connection between FTX and Alameda, arguing that FTX margin merchants had been conscious of the dangers related to transactions.
“There was no theft,” the protection claimed. “It’s not against the law to be the CEO of an organization that recordsdata for chapter.”
Within the second half of the primary day of the trial, the jury heard from two witnesses: Mark Julliard, a French dealer and former consumer of FTX, and Adam Yedidia, a good friend of Sam Bankman-Fried and former worker at Alameda Analysis and FTX.
In his testimony, Julliard mentioned he had 4 Bitcoin (BTC) held at FTX on the time of the alternate’s collapse, price almost $100,000. He admitted that FTX and Bankman-Fried’s advertising and marketing efforts, in addition to the notable enterprise capital firms backing FTX, gave him the boldness to make use of the alternate for crypto buying and selling. He assumed that enterprise capital companies had finished due diligence on FTX and its management.
Throughout the questioning, prosecutors emphasised that the dealer used FTX completely for spot buying and selling and was unaware that the alternate used consumer funds for crypto buying and selling with Alameda Analysis.
Questions for Yedidia had been centered on his academic background on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise, the place he first met Bankman-Fried and had two skilled experiences with the FTX founder. Yedidia labored at Alameda briefly in 2017 as a dealer after which returned to work for FTX in 2021 as a developer. He was amongst 10 individuals residing within the Bahamas on FTX’s $30 million actual property.
In Yedidia’s testimony, prosecutors used former FTX advertisements as proof that the corporate was all the time positioning itself as a protected, trusted and straightforward option to put money into cryptocurrency, together with advertising and marketing campaigns with NFL participant Tom Brady and comic Larry David. The trial will resume Oct. 5.
Oct. 3: SBF trial begins
The trial of Sam Bankman-Fried started on Oct. 3 with jury choice. Bankman-Fried is charged with seven counts of conspiracy and fraud in reference to the collapse of FTX, the cryptocurrency alternate he co-founded. He has pleaded not guilty to all costs. The case is being heard by Decide Lewis Kaplan, who has presided over a protracted listing of different high-profile circumstances, together with ones involving detainees at Guantanamo Bay, the Gambino crime household, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump.
Bankman-Fried was ordered to be jailed on Aug. 11 after Kaplan discovered that his sharing of former Alameda Analysis CEO Caroline Ellison’s private papers amounted to witness intimidation. Alameda Analysis was a buying and selling home additionally based by Bankman-Fried. Beforehand, he had been under house arrest in his mother and father’ dwelling in Stanford, California, on a $250-million bond.
December: SBF arrested
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the USA on his arrival from the Bahamas on Dec. 21, 2022. He had been arrested in the Bahamas on Dec. 12 after the U.S. authorities formally notified the nation of costs the U.S. was submitting towards him. He declared his intention to struggle extradition from the Caribbean nation however modified his thoughts after every week in Bahaman jail and consented to extradition.
In the meantime, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda Analysis CEO (and reportedly someday SBF girlfriend) Ellison agreed to plead guilty within the burgeoning case.
November: FTX collapses
Bankman-Fried’s troubles started when studies emerged on Nov. 2 that Alameda Analysis had a big holding of FTX Token (FTT), FTX’s utility token. That revelation led to questions concerning the relationship between the 2 entities. On Nov. 6, Changpeng Zhao, CEO of rival alternate Binance, introduced that his alternate would liquidate its FTT holdings, which had been estimated to be price $2.1 billion. Zhao turned down a suggestion tweeted by Ellison to purchase Binance’s FTT.
A run began on FTX. Bankman-Fried gave reassurances on Twitter (now X) that the alternate’s “belongings are fantastic” and accused “a competitor” of spreading rumors. By Nov. 8, the value of FTT had fallen from $22 to $15.40.
It’s solely been one week since SBF’s infamous “FTX is okay. Property are fantastic.” pic.twitter.com/zKoILqquHF
— Robert Smith (@BondHack) November 14, 2022
Additionally on Nov. 8, Bankman-Fried introduced on Twitter that he had come to an agreement with Zhao “on a strategic transaction.” He wrote, “Our groups are engaged on clearing out the withdrawal backlog as is. This may filter liquidity crunches; all belongings might be coated 1:1.”
On Nov. 9, Zhao introduced that Binance would not pursue the acquisition of FTX after due diligence and extra studies of mishandled funds. The value of Bitcoin (BTC) plummeted to $15,600. The FTX and Alameda Analysis websites went dark for just a few hours. When the FTX web site got here again, it bore a warning towards making deposits and was unable to course of withdrawals.
On Nov. 10, Bankman-Fried posted a 22-part Twitter thread that started with “I’m sorry.” It was the primary of a protracted string of public statements he made concerning the alternate’s fall. The next day, all the employees of Alameda Analysis stop, and FTX, FTX US and Alameda Analysis filed for bankruptcy in the United States. Bankman-Fried resigned as FTX CEO and was changed by John J. Ray III, who was finest identified for his function within the Enron chapter.
SBF and FTX earlier than the autumn
Originally of 2022, FTX had a $32-billion valuation and was thought to be in enviable financial condition. Bankman-Fried was seen as a revered enterprise chief by a lot of the crypto group and the world at giant. He was photographed with political leaders and spoke at congressional hearings.
— Jordan Schachtel @ file.immediately (@JordanSchachtel) November 17, 2022
He had gained a reputation as a philanthropist, pursuing a philosophy well-liked amongst teachers generally known as “efficient altruism.” A part of his implementation of that philosophy was political activism within the type of monetary help for candidates.
Because the crypto winter set in, Bankman-Fried spoke of FTX and Alameda Research’s “duty to noticeably take into account stepping in, even whether it is at a loss to ourselves, to stem contagion.” The businesses made a bid for Voyager Digital that was rebuffed.
FTX made a deal with Visa to introduce its personal debit card in 40 international locations.
Bankman-Fried, Ellison and different alumni of Jane Avenue Capital based Alameda Analysis in 2017. Bankman-Fried went on to discovered FTX with Wang in 2019. Zhao was an early investor within the alternate.
It is a growing story, and additional info might be added because it turns into accessible.