Testifying in court but without the jury for his criminal trial present, Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried faced questions from prosecutors who pressed the former FTX CEO on his alleged involvement in using customer funds for investments through Alameda Research.
According to reports from the New York courtroom on Oct. 26, Bankman-Fried denied knowing why crypto exchange FTX began moving user funds from a bank account with Alameda to a firm called North Dimension — a “shadowy entity” allegedly used for money laundering. SBF suggested that banks may have been more comfortable with North Dimension, avoiding well-known hedge funds connected to crypto like Alameda.
Bankman-Fried reportedly said he wasn’t heavily involved in North Dimension, but didn’t recall discussions with auditors about FTX user funds going to the entity as well as Alameda:
“I should say, I am not a lawyer, I am just trying to answer based on my recollection […] At the time [at] FTX, certain customers thought accounts would be sent to Alameda.”
SBF’s testimony, made in a court hearing without the jury present, was one of the last presentations by his defense team, consisting of attorneys Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell. He testified to believing that taking FTX deposits through Alameda Research was legal under questioning from his attorneys. At the same time, prosecutors asked about his role in the retention of documents and communications at FTX and Alameda.
“[T]he witness has an interesting way of responding to questions,” said Judge Kaplan on SBF’s testimony so far.
The criminal trial which started on Oct. 3 after months of preparation will likely end within the next seven days following Bankman-Fried’s testimony and closing arguments from both sides. Bankman-Fried could face conviction on up to seven charges in the current trial but is also expected to address five more criminal counts in a second trial in March 2024.