After a month-long trial in New York, Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, was found guilty of fraud and money laundering.
The jury deliberated for less than five hours before returning its decision.
It brings an end to the astonishing decline in fortune for the 31-year-old former millionaire, who was formerly dubbed the “King of Crypto” and is currently facing decades imprisonment.
FTX, Bankman-Fried’s company, filed for bankruptcy last year, leading to his arrest.
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His sentence is scheduled on March 28 of the following year.
When cryptocurrency exchange FTX filed for bankruptcy in November of last year, $8 billion in client cash were missing from its formerly $32 billion (£26 billion) valuation.
Following the decision, US attorney Damian Williams released a statement saying, “Sam Bankman-Fried perpetrated one of the biggest financial frauds in American history – a multibillion-dollar scheme designed to make him the king of crypto.”
“This case has always been about lying, cheating and stealing, and we have no patience for it,” he stated.
While his parents sat with their heads in their hands, Bankman-Fried stood before the jury with his hands clasped as the verdict was read.
He was found guilty by the jury of deceiving lenders and investors and embezzling billions of dollars from FTX, which contributed to the company’s demise. Seven charges of money laundering and fraud have been brought against him.
He had entered a not guilty plea to every accusation, arguing that despite his shortcomings, he had behaved honourably.
The parents of Bankman-Fried sat with their heads buried in their hands.
Following the verdict, Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s attorney, stated: “We honour the jury’s choice. However, we are rather dissatisfied with the outcome.
“Mr Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him,” he stated.
When the BBC asked Bankman-Fried’s representative if he intended to appeal the judgement, he did not answer right away.
In an attempt to get their sentences reduced, three of his former close friends and coworkers—including his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison—pleaded guilty and consented to testify against him.
The prosecution produced proof that, in the early days of the exchange, when regular banks refused to let it to create an account, FTX clients sent deposits to Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading company, Alameda Research.
Rather than protecting those monies, as Bankman-Fried had publicly promised to do on several occasions, he spent the money to pay back Alameda lenders, purchase real estate, make investments, and make political contributions.
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