The former billionaire’s fraud trial stems from the dramatic collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange he founded.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s fraud trial, which began on Tuesday in the United States, marks the culmination of a year-long legal saga stemming from the dramatic collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange he founded.
The trial, which is expected to last about six weeks, comes nearly a year after the FTX collapse shocked markets and shattered Bankman-Fried’s reputation. Selection for the panel of 12 jurors and six alternates will continue Wednesday, followed by opening statements.
Here’s a timeline of the key events that led to the 31-year-old former billionaire’s trial.
Bankman-Fried, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is leaving his job as a quantitative trader at Jane Street Capital and launching Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency-focused trading firm.
Bankman-Fried and former Google employee Gary Wang found in FTX a new platform for trading crypto tokens and derivatives.
FTX raises $420 million in venture funding, valuing the company at $25 billion. Bankman-Fried debuts on Forbes’ billionaire list, which estimates her net worth at $22.5 billion. The magazine’s assessment of his wealth would rise to $26 billion by the end of the year.
The NFL Super Bowl broadcast is packed with cryptocurrency ads, marking the height of the craze for this booming asset class. FTX’s “Don’t Miss Out” ad features actor Larry David, whose skepticism about the platform is presented as similar to that of a primitive human being who doubts the importance of the wheel.
Bankman-Fried emerges as the so-called “white knight” of the cryptocurrency sector amid a collapse in the prices of Bitcoin and other digital assets. Alameda provides cryptocurrency lender Voyager Digital with a $200 million line of credit, and FTX provides lender BlockFi with a $250 million loan.
November 2, 2022
Crypto news website CoinDesk publishes a leaked Alameda Research balance sheet showing that much of its $14.6 billion in assets is held in FTX’s own token, called FTT. The token subsequently loses around $400 million of its market cap, and rival exchange Binance says it will sell its FTT holdings.
November 8, 2022
After FTX recorded $6 billion in customer withdrawals in three days, Binance boss Changpeng Zhao says the company has signed a non-binding agreement to buy FTX’s non-US unit. Binance cancels the deal the next day.
November 11, 2022
FTX files for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Bankman-Fried resigns as its CEO.
November 16, 2022
David and other famous FTX promoters, including NFL quarterback Tom Brady, are being sued over claims they engaged in deceptive practices. The celebrities have said the lawsuit should be dismissed, arguing that they caused no losses to FTX investors.
December 12, 2022
Bankman-Fried is arrested in the Bahamas, where he lives and where FTX is based. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan later confirms that a federal grand jury had indicted him for fraud and conspiracy.
December 21, 2022
Bankman-Fried leaves the Bahamas after agreeing to be extradited to the United States. While it’s up in the air, prosecutors reveal that Wang and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
December 22, 2022
Bankman-Fried makes an initial appearance in federal court in Manhattan and is released under house arrest at his parents’ home in Palo Alto, California, on $250 million bail.
January 3-12, 2023
Bankman-Fried pleads not guilty and U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan schedules her trial for October. In a post-arrest blog post, Bankman-Fried denies stealing funds and blames FTX’s collapse on a broader slowdown in cryptocurrency markets.
February 28, 2023
Nishad Singh, former director of engineering at FTX, is increasing the pressure on Bankman-Fried by becoming the third former member of her inner circle to plead guilty to fraud charges and agree to cooperate with prosecutors.
August 11, 2023
Kaplan revokes Bankman-Fried’s bond after finding probable cause to believe she tampered with witnesses at least twice, including by sharing Ellison’s private writings with a New York Times reporter. Bankman-Fried is being held in custody at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting trial.
October 3, 2023
The trial begins in Manhattan with jury selection. Bankman-Fried’s father and brother, as well as former President Donald Trump’s former spokesman, Anthony Scaramucci, are among potential witnesses in the fraud trial, according to a list read by a prosecutor in court.
But there is no guarantee they will testify during the trial, which is expected to last six weeks.