FTX Founder To Plead “Not Guilty” In Big Decision

(FiveNation.com)- Sam Bankman-Fried, the former cryptocurrency poster boy who’s now the disgraced former CEO of the FTX exchange, has pleaded not guilty to the charges that have been levied against him for his business dealings.

His not guilty plea on Tuesday in New York federal court comes just about two weeks after a judge in Manhattan released him on a bond of $250 million that required him to remain with his parents in their home in Palo Alto, California.

SBF is facing charges surrounding the overnight collapse of FTX, which is a cryptocurrency exchange that he both founded and led as its CEO. Customers lost billions of dollars as a result of the exchange’s collapse.

A tentative trial date was set for October 2 by Lewis Kaplan, the Manhattan federal district court judge in charge of the case. It’s still possible that SBF could strike a deal with prosecutors and plea guilty to some of the charges against him — or lesser charges as part of the deal. Pleading not guilty now, though, sets up what could be a huge court case.

On December 12, SBF was arrested in the Bahamas, which is where his company was based. In November, FTX filed for bankruptcy protection after it was revealed it didn’t have the necessary funds to cover his customers’ deposits.

The indictment against him is eight counts, charging him for his role in a scheme that apparently lasted multiple years and defrauded not only FTX’s customers but their lenders as well. He’s also being charged with violating various federal campaign finance laws.

Prosecutors in the case are alleging that SBF misappropriated all that money from FTX so that he could buy Bahamas real estate, invest in other companies in the cryptocurrency industry, make millions of dollars in donations to political campaigns and trade other digital currencies.

SBF was extradited rather quickly from the Bahamas to the United States after his arrest. He was then granted bail in the case, though there were some pretty restrictive conditions placed upon that. He is not allowed to leave his parents’ home in California while he’s awaiting trial.

At this week’s hearing, the prosecutors requested that new conditions be placed on his bail. One would prohibit SBF from transferring any funds that are controlled by either FTX or a crypto hedge found that he founded called Alameda Research.

Prosecutors made that request after claims that circulated recently claiming he was moving some crypto from accounts that Alameda controlled.

SBF has taken to Twitter to deny those reports.

During the court hearing, assistant U.S. attorney Danielle Sassoon said they didn’t have any evidence that SBF had actually moved funds by himself, but there was plenty of reason to distrust the statements he was making publicly.

The judge agreed with that argument and granted the additional bail condition.

SBF has quite the battle ahead of him facing these charges. A few weeks ago, prosecutors said that two people who were former executives at FTX pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud and were cooperating with their investigation.