by Jody Godoy and Luc Cohen
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The fraud trial of the founder of the cryptocurrency platform FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, opened on Tuesday in New York, almost a year after the group’s resounding bankruptcy which caused a wave of shock in the world of cryptoassets.
Federal prosecutors accuse the 31-year-old former billionaire of embezzling FTX client funds from its founding in 2019 until its bankruptcy last November to support his Alameda Research hedge fund, buying luxury properties or even financing American political candidates to the tune of more than $100 million.
Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. He admitted inadequate risk management but denied stealing funds.
The trial, which will begin Tuesday with the selection of the twelve members of the jury, is expected to last up to six weeks.
Three former associates of Sam Bankman-Fried are expected to testify after pleading guilty to fraud charges and agreeing to cooperate with the Manhattan district attorney’s office: former Alameda manager Caroline Ellison and two former FTX executives, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh.
Sam Bankman-Fried, who was one of the most prominent figures in the cryptoasset world, has been detained since August 11 in a detention center in Brooklyn, the judge having ruled that he had engaged in bribery as a witness, in particular by communicating to a journalist the personal writings of Caroline Ellison, who is also his ex-partner.
(Reporting by Jody Godoy and Luc Cohen in New York; Blandine Hénault for the , edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)
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