The criminal case against former FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, is underway, with the prosecuting attorneys calling witnesses to testify. One of the witnesses presented by the Assistant United States Attorneys was Marc-Antoine Julliard, a London-based cocoa broker who used FTX for crypto trading.
Julliard testified that he learned about FTX from a friend and was attracted to the firm after seeing advertisements featuring supermodel Gisele Bündchen. He used the FTX mobile app to trade cryptocurrencies, including Dogecoin (DOGE), and had 4 Bitcoin (BTC) worth approximately $80,000 at the time. However, he was unable to withdraw his funds from FTX following a Twitter post by Bankman-Fried reassuring users that their assets were safe.
During his testimony, Julliard was questioned by Bankman-Fried’s legal team about any contact he had with FTX before his testimony and his reasons for investing in crypto. Other witnesses expected to testify at the trial include former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh, former FTX chief operating officer Constance Wang, and SkyBridge Capital co-founder Anthony Scaramucci. It remains uncertain whether Bankman-Fried himself intends to take the stand.
The trial began with jury selection, conducted by Judge Lewis Kaplan, on October 4. Defense lawyers and prosecutors then proceeded with their opening arguments. The Assistant U.S. Attorney accused Bankman-Fried of lying to FTX users, lawmakers, and the public about the financial state of the company, while Bankman-Fried’s defense team partially blamed Caroline Ellison.
Bankman-Fried is facing seven criminal charges related to the misuse of FTX customer funds in his first trial. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges. Additionally, he will face five additional charges in a second trial scheduled for March 2024.
The criminal trial of Sam Bankman-Fried has drawn significant attention in the crypto community. Many are closely following the proceedings to understand their potential implications for the regulation and scrutiny of crypto exchanges. As the trial continues, it will be interesting to see how the witnesses’ testimonies and the arguments presented by both the prosecution and the defense shape the outcome of the case.