Prosecutors on Monday grilled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried on the witness stand, taking aim at his credibility as his criminal fraud trial entered its fifth week in New York City.
Bankman-Fried, 31, faces several charges over allegations that he defrauded his customers and investors of billions of dollars in a scheme that prosecutors have called “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”
Following the collapse of FTX cryptocurrency exchange last year, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas last December and is facing charges for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions and defraud the Federal. Election Commission.
The trial kicked off on Oct. 2 in a Manhattan courthouse, with the jury hearing testimony from several members of his executive team, including his ex-girlfriend and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison.
Bankman-Fried took the stand starting last week, testifying in front of just the trial judge and lawyers on Thursday and the jury on Friday.
Prosecutors began cross-examining Bankman-Fried in front of the jury on Monday, bringing up his public statements before and after FTX filed for bankruptcy last year when it could not process the billions in withdrawals, according to The Associated Press.
Here are five highlights from Bankman-Fried’s third day on the witness stand:
Prosecution points to past statements made by Bankman-Fried
Bloomberg reported the jury on Monday was shown emails, interviews, past posts on Alameda Research, followed the same rules as other investors.
Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried siphoned off customer funds to prop up Alameda Research, along with bankrolling tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions.
Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon attempted to show the jury the differences between Bankman-Fried’s claims about FTX’s risk management and his involvement with Alameda prior to and after the exchange’s collapse, Bloomberg reported.
Bankman-Fried reportedly said he could not remember and was not sure about his statements of the past, according to Bloomberg.
Bankman-Fried, once valued at $32 billion, was a major political donor in the 2022 midterm elections, though prosecutors allege additional contributions with Alameda and FTX funds were made in the name of two other executives as a way to get support from candidates that would support favorable legislation.
Bankman-Fried pushes back against claims that he led both FTX and Alameda
Bankman-Fried pushed back against prosecutors, who attempted to show the jury that he was “in charge” at both FTX and Alameda, Bloomberg reported. When pressed over if he called the shots as CEO, Bankman-Fried said, “I called some of them.”
Asked if he was involved with Alameda’s trading last year, he replied, “depends on how you define trading,” according to Bloomberg.
Prosecutors argue Bankman-Fried backdated documents
Sassoon alleged Bankman-Fried backdated documents, referencing testimony from former FTX executive Nishad Singh, who told the jury Bankman-Fried instructed him to inflate the exchange’s revenue to reach $1 billion by “backdating Serum staking fees,” Bloomberg reported.
When shown a document signed Jan. 1, 2021, Bloomberg reported Bankman-Fried claimed he signed it after that date and noted it was likely not the first time something like that happened.
Bankman-Fried confirms he thought highly of himself
The prosecution spent some of the cross-examination painting the picture that Bankman-Fried contributed to a certain public perception by not cutting his hack and wearing a T-shirt and shorts.
When Sassoon asked Bankman-Fried if he thought highly of himself, he replied, “I did,” per Bloomberg.
Bankman-Fried repeats “I am not sure,” throughout cross-examination.
Bloomberg reported the phrase “I am not sure” became part of Bankman-Fried’s typical response when being grilled by prosecutors.
He said multiple times he did not recall exactly what he had said in the past and sometimes did not fully answer the questions, Bloomberg reported, with some media reports estimating he said “I don’t recall” a 100 times.