Bankman-Fried has frequently asserted that he does not believe that he is criminally responsible for the collapse of FTX, but his coworkers have already entered guilty pleas. Next week, Bankman-Fried may do the same in federal court in New York before Judge Lewis Kaplan.
The court hearing
Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, is scheduled to appear in court on the afternoon of January 3 to enter a plea to the two counts of wire fraud and the six counts of conspiracy brought against him in connection with the demise of FTX cryptocurrency exchange, according to court records cited by Reuters on December 28. Bankman-Fried will show up in front of Manhattan District Judge Lewis Kaplan.
On December 27 (1), Judge Kaplan was assigned to the case when the initial judge, Ronnie Abrams, withdrew due to FTX's ties to Davis Polk & Wardwell, where her spouse is a partner, being unclear. FTX received advice from the company in 2021. Kaplan, chosen in 1994 by U.S. President Bill Clinton, is renowned for his plain demeanor and professional management of trial proceedings.
SBF's claim of innocence
Before his arrest, Bankman-Fried repeatedly said that he did not feel he was criminally responsible for his activities as the CEO of FTX and that it was merely an accounting mistake that caused him to "unknowingly commingle monies" of Alameda and FTX clients. At a hearing of the Financial Services Committee of the US House of Representatives, John Ray, Bankman-replacement Fried's at FTX, was present. Ray has been scathing in his evaluation of the Management of the cryptocurrency exchange that Bankman-Fried cofounded. In written evidence submitted before the House committee (2), Ray stated:
"I have never in my experience witnessed such a thorough breakdown of corporate controls at every level of a company, from the absence of financial statements to the total breakdown of any internal controls or governance whatsoever,"
Currently, Bankman-Fried is being held in California with his parents on a $250 million bail, a portion of which is the equity of his parents' home. Bankman-release Fried's was also subject to several restrictions, including diagnosis and treatment for mental illness and drug usage. Members of his inner circle at FTX and the associated trading business Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, have admitted the allegations brought against them.
According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York, they have consented to assist the prosecution. Before that day, the contract with Ellison and Wang reportedly existed, but it was kept a secret until Bankman-Fried consented to be deported from the Bahamas. Nishad Singh, a former director of engineering, and Sam Trabucco, a former co-CEO of Alameda Research alongside Ellison who resigned on August 24, two of Bankman-close Fried's allies, have not yet been accused.