In this courtroom sketch, Sam Bankman-Fried, right, testifies as Judge Lewis Kaplan presides over the trial Tuesday in New York. (Elizabeth Williams/AP)Federal prosecutors went back to basics Wednesday as they made their closing argument to the jurors who will decide the fate of fallen crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried.
After weeks of testimony that took detours into lines of computer code and the arcana of digital finance, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos told jurors sifting through the rubble of a multibillion-dollar crypto collapse to focus on three simple questions: where the money went, what happened, and who is to blame.
The prosecution’s closing argument launched the last phase of Bankman-Fried’s trial. He is accused of stealing billions of dollars from customers of the crypto trading platform he co-founded, FTX, to fund venture investments, real estate purchases and political contributions.The company, once valued at $32 billion, collapsed a year ago, along with Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, which prosecutors say he used to facilitate one of the biggest financial frauds in history. headtopics.com
Bankman-Fried and his attorneys have argued that the former executive acted in good faith but paid insufficient attention to risk as his business grew rapidly. Testifying in his own defense this week, he said he did not know about the misappropriation of customer funds until last fall. He pinned responsibility on his subordinates, contradicting testimony from his three top lieutenants, who said he directed the scheme.
Roos told jurors on Wednesday that Bankman-Fried had lied to them from the stand. “This is not about technical jargon,” the prosecutor said. “It’s about lies. It’s about stealing.”Roos noted that Bankman-Fried said that he did not recall information 140 times during the prosecution’s cross-examination, a claim he never made while his attorneys questioned him. headtopics.com