Federal prosecutor Nicolas Roos argued this week that Sam Bankman-Fried stole billions in customer funds from his cryptocurrency exchange FTX and lied repeatedly to cover it up, actions that make him guilty on all counts. The prosecutor’s closing argument paints a picture of Bankman-Fried building a mountain of lies that eventually collapsed, “leaving countless victims in its wake.”
From Crypto King to the Courtroom’s Closing Arguments: The Bankman-Fried Saga
Almost a year ago, customers began trying to withdraw funds from FTX, but their requests went unprocessed as FTX went bankrupt with $10 billion missing, prosecutor Roos told the court on Novemeber 1, 2023. The federal government’s closing argument was published by Matthew Russell Lee from the Inner City Press.
Roos argued that Sam Bankman-Fried spent FTX customer money to cover expenses, buy property and make political donations in a “pyramid of deceit” that eventually collapsed. Roos said Bankman-Fried knew taking the money was wrong but believed he could evade consequences.
“He thought he was smarter, and could walk his way out of it. Today, with you, that ends,” Roos said to the jurors.
Roos said Bankman-Fried set up a secret system allowing his quantitive trading firm Alameda Research to take FTX customer funds with zero risk of liquidation. Roos called this stealing: “[It’s] fraud. It’s stealing plain and simple.” Roos said Bankman-Fried lied repeatedly on the stand, unable to recall details from his own business. “Over three days he took the stand and he lied. You’d have to ignore all the evidence,” Roos said.
The federal prosecutor also recounted how Bankman-Fried failed to remember his statements or decisions, saying:
He couldn’t remember a single detail. It was uncomfortable. 140 times…
Roos outlined how Bankman-Fried allegedly used FTX customer money to buy back FTX stock and acquire luxury property despite subordinates warning him it was unwise. Roos said Bankman-Fried omitted negative information from balance sheets sent to investors and lenders, calling it fraud. The U.S. attorney added:
He took the money and played roulette with it. He was stealing.
Roos completely rejected Bankman-Fried’s good faith defense, citing deleted communications and testimony he acknowledged issues but proceeded anyway. Roos called margin lending explanations false excuses, saying customers had to opt into margin programs separately. In conclusion, Roos said: “Let the evidence prevail over his storytelling. He lied. He is guilty. Reach that verdict: that he is guilty.”
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