July 23, 2024

Sam Bankman-Fried: Convicted ‘Crypto King’ will not face second trial

Image caption,

The former billionaire was found guilty of fraud and money laundering last month

Sam Bankman-Fried, who once ran one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges and is facing decades in jail, will not face another trial, US prosecutors say.

Prosecutors said the “strong public interest” in a resolution of their case against the former billionaire outweighed benefits of a second trial.

He had faced six charges that had been separated from his first trial.

These included campaign finance violations, conspiracy to commit bribery, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

His sentencing has been set for 28 March.

In a letter filed in federal court in Manhattan, prosecutors said that his sentencing will likely include orders of forfeiture and restitution for the victims of his crimes.

Bankman-Fried’s conviction in New York on 2 November concluded a stunning fall from grace for the former billionaire, once known as the “King of Crypto”.

He was arrested last year after his firm, FTX, went bankrupt.

FTX was once valued at $32bn (£26bn), but when it went bankrupt in November last year $8bn in customer funds was missing.

The jury found him guilty of lying to investors and lenders and stealing billions of dollars from FTX, helping to precipitate its collapse. He was charged with seven counts of fraud and money laundering.

The prosecution presented evidence that Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading firm Alameda Research received deposits on behalf of FTX customers from the early days of the exchange, when traditional banks were unwilling to let it open an account.

Instead of safeguarding those funds, as Bankman-Fried repeatedly pledged to do in public, he used the money to repay Alameda lenders, buy property and make investments and political donations.

He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, maintaining that, while he had made mistakes, he had acted in good faith.

Five of the charges Bankman-Fried was found guilty of carry a maximum prison term of 20 years, with a five-year maximum on the other two charges.

That creates a potential maximum sentence of 110 years. Although it is unlikely the judge will actually impose that, Bankman-Fried is expected to face a sentence lasting decades.

Three of his former close friends and colleagues, including his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him in hopes of reducing their own sentences.

They are to be sentenced at a later date.

Video caption,

Speaking to the BBC last year, Sam Bankman-Fried denied claims he knew FTX customer money was used for risky financial bets

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