CNBC reports that Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to the eight criminal charges he’s facing, accusing the former crypto billionaire of committing fraud and money laundering. Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, appeared in a New York City courtroom nearly two months after his crypto exchange FTX declared bankruptcy.
Now, billions of dollars from investors and customers are missing, and the Department of Justice, US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have all accused his empire of operating as a fraud practically from the very start.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas last month before being extradited to the US to face these charges and is currently living with his parents while free on a $250 million bail. As SBF was headed back to the US, the authorities revealed that two of his close friends and associates, Caroline Ellison and Zixiao “Gary” Wang, who were executives within his empire, had already pleaded guilty and were cooperating with the prosecutors.
According to Bloomberg, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan tentatively set a start date for the trial on October 2nd, “after US prosecutors said they expect to produce all evidence for the case in the next four weeks.” Reuters reports the judge also added a new bail condition, saying that Bankman-Fried is not allowed to access FTX or Alameda assets.
The judge also agreed to a request from Bankman-Fried’s lawyers, who pushed to keep private the identities of two people — other than his parents — who have helped secure his bail, saying his parents have already been targeted by threats and harassment.
Ellison had been the CEO of Alameda Research, while Wang co-founded FTX and served as its CTO. The prosecutors allege that the executives leading Bankman-Fried’s companies used FTX customer funds for Alameda’s trading as well as loans to themselves and lavish spending on homes, private jet flights, and political donations.