Sam Bankman-Fried took the stand in his criminal trial today in an attempt to avoid decades in prison for alleged fraud at cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its affiliate Alameda Research. […] Some of the alleged fraud relates to how Alameda borrowed money from FTX. In testimony today, “Bankman-Fried said he believed that under FTX’s terms of service, sister firm Alameda was allowed in many circumstances to borrow funds from the exchange,” the WSJ wrote. Bankman-Fried reportedly said the terms of service were written by FTX lawyers and that he only “skimmed” certain parts. “I read parts in depth. Parts I skimmed over,” Bankman-Fried reportedly said after [U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan] asked if he read the entire terms of service document.
Sassoon asked Bankman-Fried if he had “any conversations with lawyers about Alameda spending customer money that was deposited into FTX bank accounts,” according to Bloomberg’s live coverage. “I don’t recall any conversations that were contemporaneous and phrased that way,” Bankman-Fried answered. “I had so many conversations with lawyers later when we were trying to reconcile things in November 2022,” Bankman-Fried also said. “There were conversations around Alameda being used as a payment processor, a payment agent for FTX. I frankly don’t recall conversations with lawyers or otherwise about the usage of the funds or the North Dimension accounts.” North Dimension was an Alameda subsidiary. The Securities and Exchange Commission has alleged that “Bankman-Fried directed FTX to have customers send funds to North Dimension in an effort to hide the fact that the funds were being sent to an account controlled by Alameda.” […]
In an overview of the alleged crimes, the indictment said Bankman-Fried “misappropriated and embezzled FTX customer deposits and used billions of dollars in stolen funds… to enrich himself; to support the operations of FTX; to fund speculative venture investments; to help fund over a hundred million dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats and Republicans to seek to influence cryptocurrency regulation; and to pay for Alameda’s operating costs.” He was also accused of making “false and fraudulent statements and representations to FTX’s investors and Alameda’s lenders.”
SBF’s legal team decided that he would take the stand in his own defense — a risky decision by legal observers as he will have to face cross-examination from federal prosecutors. In a rather unusual move, Judge Kaplan sent the jury home for a day to conduct a hearing on whether certain parts of Bankman-Fried’s testimony are admissible.
During his testimony, Bankman-Fried discussed various aspects of the case, including FTX’s terms of service, loans from Alameda to him and other executives, a hack into FTX, and his use of the encrypted messaging service Signal. Live paywall-free updates of the trial are available here.
Originally Posted at https://slashdot.org/