FTX: What will Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers likely argue in his defense?

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, considers the prospect of spending decades behind bars if he is convicted on a series of charges he is facing in connection with the collapse of the crypto empire, as prosecutors seek revenge for countless customers who have lost billions of dollars. platform crashed.

So what could the legal team possibly discuss when suing for his exoneration? One white-collar defense attorney says that observers took a look at the possible arguments of Bankman-Fried himself.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of centre-right FTX, being released from Magistrates’ Court in Nassau, Bahamas, December 13, 2022. (Getty Images/Getty Images via George Robinson/Bloomberg)

Bankman-Fried, 30, was arrested last week on eight charges ranging from electronic fraud to money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud. Federal officials accuse the former CEO of diverting investor money to cover spending, debt and risky trades at crypto hedge fund Alameda Research, along with generous purchases and illegal campaign contributions without telling clients.

Prosecutors need to be able to prove that Bankman-Fried had intent to commit fraud, according to Mark Kasten, a member of the Blockchain and Crypto Assets Practice group at law firm Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, who said lawyers for the FTX founder could argue. not guilty – just incompetent.

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“I think we’ve seen a preview of that in his public statements because he definitely pushed the hands of his lawyers by going out there and basically saying he was overstepping and making mistakes and had no intention of defrauding anyone. Speaking to FOX Business, Kasten told Bankman-Fried multiple press interviews and the Bahamas last week. He pointed to the written statement that he planned to present to Congress in person before he was arrested in .

FTX founder at trial

Sam Bankman-Fried speaks at a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee hearing on February 9, 2022, in Washington. (Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“But,” Kasten remarked, “that’s probably the defense they’re going to use anyway.”

“You know, you can run a business or run a hedge fund and lose money due to mismanagement and incompetence – but that in itself is not a crime.”

Kasten says Bankman-Fried was also unaware of the alleged movement of funds from FTX to Alameda, and could also argue that he does not have oversight authority because he delegated those responsibilities to other leadership members.

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To date, Bankman-Fried has been the only FTX executive arrested for bankruptcy. Intentionally says that the fact that he was individually charged with conspiracy but no co-conspirator was named is a sign that other members of the FTX leadership are turning their backs on the founder and collaborating with the government to prosecute him.

Therefore, the lawyer says, observers can expect Bankman-Fried’s lawyers to attack the credibility of the collaborators.

Caroline Ellison, CEO of Alameda Research

Caroline Ellison, CEO of Alameda Research, via Twitter (Twitter @carolinecapital)

Unlike Bankman-Fried, other former leaders of FTX, including Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend and Alameda’s former CEO, have not issued any press releases since the platform’s demise. FTX co-founder Gary Wang also remained silent, allegedly pointing to other executives when former FTX Digital co-CEO Ryan Salame alerted Bahamian officials last month of alleged improper payments to Alameda.

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Finally, Kasten says that while Bankman-Fried’s lawyers acknowledge FTX’s reckless conduct, its growth in an uncertain regulatory environment in an emerging industry may also indicate that the company is immature but not criminal.

Louis Casiano of FOX Business contributed to this report.

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