During his federal fraud trial Thursday, disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly resorted to a series of evasive maneuvers, attempting to dodge tough questions by prosecutor Danielle Sassoon.
Bankman-Fried, 31, is on trial for the alleged embezzlement of $8 billion in FTX user funds, which he claims was permitted to be borrowed by his trading firm, Alameda Research, according to the New York Post. Bankman-Fried co-founded and served as CEO of the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX. “Listen to the question, and answer the question,” Judge Lewis Kaplan said at one point during the hearing, the NY Post reported.
Bankman-Fried allegedly provided answers that were roundabout and elusive and prompted the judge’s intervention.
— CryptoLaw (@CryptoLawUS) October 26, 2023
Throughout the hearing, the former crypto tycoon reportedly appeared visibly distressed, with frequent downward glances and winces. He repeatedly challenged the phrasing of questions posed by Sassoon, according to the NY Post, leading to lengthy responses that did little to clarify the charges against him. Bankman-Fried’s responses were reportedly riddled with statements such as “I don’t recall” or “I can’t remember,” which he repeated on at least a dozen occasions, the outlet added. (RELATED: Former FTX Executive Sheds Light On Dem Megadonor’s Alleged Campaign Finance Violations)
Bankman-Fried reportedly responded, “Um, sorry, I…,” before trailing off, in response to a question about whether Alameda Research’s FTX account had received special permission to accumulate a substantial negative balance, potentially implicating it in a scheme to misappropriate customer funds, according to the NY Post. Following a brief pause, he added he would make his “best guess at answering your question” but ultimately failed to provide a clear response, the outlet reported.
The accused fraudster again resorted to “I don’t recall” as his response to an inquiry about conversations relating to Alameda’s alleged $13 billion debt before the collapse of FTX in November 2022, according to the NY Post.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 26, 2023
“I’m not a lawyer … I’m just giving as best as I can what my memory is,” he also said during the hearing, the outlet reported. Bankman-Fried is facing charges of conspiracy and wire fraud, accused of utilizing over $8 billion in stolen FTX user deposits to finance opulent real estate acquisitions, political donations and debt repayments. He has pleaded not guilty.
The presiding judge decided to adjourn proceedings for the day to allow the court to deliberate and determine which pieces of evidence would be presented during Bankman-Fried’s testimony Friday.