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Former FTX CEO to Appear in Court for Plea Hearing on Fraud and Conspiracy Charges

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is set to appear in a New York federal court on January 3 to enter a plea on two counts of wire fraud and six counts of conspiracy.

Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried

Bankman-Fried will appear before District Judge Lewis Kaplan in Manhattan, who was recently assigned to the case after the original judge, Ronnie Abrams, recused herself due to connections between FTX and the Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm, where her husband is a partner.

Bankman-Fried's Associates Plead Guilty to Fraud and Conspiracy Charges

Two members of Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle at FTX and related trading firm Alameda Research, Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, have pleaded guilty to the charges against them and have agreed to cooperate with the prosecution, according to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.

The deal with Ellison and Wang was reportedly made before the announcement on December 22 but kept secret until Bankman-Fried agreed to extradition from the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried's close associates Nishad Singh, the former director of engineering, and Sam Trabucco, the former co-CEO of Alameda Research, have not been charged at this time.

Bankman-Fried Claims No Criminal Liability in FTX Collapse

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has repeatedly claimed that he does not consider himself to have criminal liability in the collapse of the exchange. In statements before his arrest, Bankman-Fried attributed the collapse to an accounting snafu that led to him "unknowingly commingling funds" of Alameda and FTX customers. However, John Ray, Bankman-Fried's successor at FTX, has disputed these claims, stating in written testimony:

"Never in my career have I seen such an utter failure of corporate controls at every level of an organization, from the lack of financial statements to a complete failure of any internal controls or governance whatsoever."

Ray added that he does not find Bankman-Fried's statements to be credible.