Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of collapsed crypto exchange FTX and involved in various associated rackets, is in court today at the outset of his criminal trial on seven criminal charges including wire fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. Bankman-Fried's political donations, his association with the so-called "effective altruism" movement and his inability to stop talking about it all in post-arrest interviews made a public spectacle of his downfall.
A superseding indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried misused billions of dollars worth of customer money for personal purchases, including buying more than $200 million of upscale real estate properties in the Bahamas, as well as to cover bad bets made at his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research. The government says customer cash was shuttled to Alameda via two channels: Users depositing cash directly into accounts held by Alameda and through a secret backdoor that was baked into FTX's code.
Prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, who contend that more than $8 billion of customers' money has gone missing, also allege that Bankman-Fried defrauded FTX investors by covering up the scheme.
The government has separately accused SBF of using customer funds to make more than $100 million in campaign contributions for the 2022 midterm elections.
SBF represents the rare double nominative determinate: he is a bankman and he is now fried.
Navelgazing here, but he also showed just how broke things are in the punditry: they were completely taken in by him and all that hyperactive hogwash about elite altrusim, and he was pretty fond of them, too. Some seem to be hoping for acquittal so that they can have been right all along. He's going to testify in his own defense, though, so they shouldn't get too hopeful.