Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, will plead not guilty to fraud and other charges at his upcoming hearing.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, citing a person familiar with the situation, Bankman-Fried is expected to plead not guilty in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 3.
He was generally expected to plead not guilty, as it is customary for defendants in criminal cases to initially plead not guilty. Defendants are free to change their confessions at a later date.
As previously reported, Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas earlier this month after US prosecutors formally charged him. After an uncertain week, the crypto boss has finally been extradited to the United States, where he faces a host of criminal charges.
The Southern District of New York, investigating Bankman-Fried and the collapse of FTX and its sister company Alameda, charged SBF with eight crimes, including wire fraud and conspiracy to misappropriate client funds. Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against SBF for “orchestrating a scheme to defraud FTX stock investors.”
Prior to his arrest, SBF attributed the nearly $10 billion hole in FTX funds to sloppy bookkeeping and a problem with a bank account that allowed Alameda Research, an affiliate trading firm, to suffer significant losses on FTX funds covering users.
SBF, who invited the BBC to his villa in the Bahamas, told media he had not committed any fraud. “I didn’t knowingly commit fraud, I don’t think I committed fraud, I didn’t want it to happen. I certainly wasn’t as competent as I thought I was,” he told a few days before his arrest. .
Last week, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison pleaded guilty to seven counts, including wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. Gary Wang, former chief technology officer of FTX, also pleaded guilty to the charges. The two are cooperating with federal investigators.
As of now, SBF is under house arrest at the Bankman-Fried family home in Palo Alto. He was released from jail last week after posting $250 million bail in a New York court.
SBF has also been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating campaign finance laws. Prosecutors accuse the SBF of defrauding the Federal Election Commission by colluding with others to make illegal donations to candidates starting in 2020.
The former FTX CEO was the second-biggest contributor to the Democratic Party in the 2021-2022 election cycle, behind billionaire George Soros, donating $39,884,256 to Democrats. Elon Musk even hinted that he might have donated as much as $1 billion to Democrats.