Former FTX chief executive Sam Bankman-Fried has reportedly decided to testify in court after his colleagues took the witness stand to provide evidence.
In a lengthy thread on the social media platform X, Inner City Press reports that Bankman-Fried’s lawyer has stated that his client will testify after the defense’s three witnesses in order to rebut statements made by employees of FTX.
Earlier in the trial, ex-Alameda Research CEO and Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, told the court that she was directed by Bankman-Fried to commit fraud.
According to Ellison, Alameda took about $14 billion worth of FTC customer funds between 2020 and 2022 under the direction of Bankman-Fried. She also noted that Alameda doctored its balance sheets to make the firm seem less risky to lending companies.
Days before that, FTX co-founder Gary Wang testified against Bankman-Fried, saying that what the crypto exchange listed as an “insurance fund” was in reality a fake account.
According to Wang, the fund didn’t actually have the amount of backstop funds it claimed to have in it, such as $5.5 million in cash and 5 million FTT (FTX token). Wang notes that FTX made up the amount of USD in the account using a formula that included a random number generator.
In a recent interview on the This Week in Startups podcast, Inner City Press reporter Mathew Russell Lee says that Ellison’s testimony was particularly damning for Bankman-Fried.
19:10 “I think Ellison was a very strong witness because… she [described] how it worked and she’s pled guilty – she acknowledges that she knew that Alameda had this incredible $65 billion line of credit with FTX [and] that when people thought they were sending in money to trade on the FTX platform, it was being diverted to Alameda, but she says very much ‘Sam told me to do this.’”
Bankman-Fried is currently on trial for mishandling billions of dollars worth of customer funds as well as defrauding investors. If convicted, he faced decades behind bars.