The founder of the cryptocurrency trading platform FTX, Sam Bankman-Friedit was declared innocent before the eight counts of which he is accused. His defense took place this Tuesday during a hearing in a federal court of Manhattanin which the first investigations are being carried out on the fraud of investors, the looting of customer deposits, money laundering and the violation of the financing laws of political campaigns of which he is being pointed out.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Cohen, was in charge of announcing that his client “pleads not guilty to all charges”, of which five have a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The Bankman-Fried trial, which will begin in Octoberwill evaluate the responsibility of the 30-year-old man in the illegal diversion of huge sums of money of FTX clients, in order to make luxurious real estate purchases, as well as donate money to politicians and participate in risky operations in Alameda Researchyour crypto hedge fund firm.
During this meeting, it was also defined that the defense requests and the responses to them by the prosecution would be presented in April for their subsequent debate on May 18.
Bankman-Fried arrived at the court with a backpack on his back without a police escort since he agreed to the benefit of freedom with electronic surveillance two weeks ago on the condition that he stay at his parents’ residence in Palo Alto, Californiaand after payment of a deposit of 250 million dollarsone of the highest in US history.
Prior to the arraignment, the defendant’s attorneys sent a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan stating that Bankman-Fried’s parents had been subjected to “intense media scrutiny, harassment and threatsincluding communications expressing the wish that they suffer physical harm”, during the last weeks.
That is why the lawyers requested that their names be included in the court documents. The judge invited the prosecutors to respond to the letter and mentioned that he will rule on it another time.
Likewise, shortly before this meeting, prosecutor Damian Williams had announced that he would launch a working group made up of senior prosecutors from his office to investigate and prosecute all acts related to the collapse of FTX.
In the same way, he assured that the group will work to locate and recover assets of the victims involved, estimated at close to 32,000 million dollars.
“The Southern District of New York is working tirelessly to respond to the FTX implosion,” Williams said in a news release. “This is a moment in which you have to get down to work. We are launching the SDNY FTX Task Force to ensure this urgent work continues, powered by all of SDNY’s resources and expertise, until justice is served.”
Unlike the owner Caroline Ellisonwho for only 28 years ran Alameda, and Gary Wang29, co-founder of FTX, declared guilty for the charges of fraud and have been cooperating with prosecutors in the hope of obtaining clemency. Both, like Bankman-Fried, are out on bail.
His statements, however, were not made public until the 30-year-old man was on the air in what was his extradition from the Bahamas, the headquarters of FTX, where there were fears of high chances of escape.
(With information from The Associated Press and AFP)
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