Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of FTX, took the witness stand on Friday to testify in his trial on charges related to fraud and money laundering. Wearing an oversized gray suit and purple tie, Bankman-Fried had been patiently waiting for the opportunity to speak after four weeks of silence.
Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of FTX, denied allegations of defrauding customers or misusing their funds during his trial. He acknowledged making mistakes but emphasized the absence of a risk management team at FTX as a significant oversight.
Bankman-Fried, together with Gary Wang, co-founded FTX in 2019, following their venture into the crypto trading industry with Alameda Research in 2017. Despite their lack of prior entrepreneurial experience, Bankman-Fried spoke of their initial goal to build the best crypto exchange on the market and push the ecosystem forward.
However, Bankman-Fried acknowledged that things did not go as planned, resulting in harm to many individuals. When his lead lawyer, Mark Cohen, asked him if he had defrauded or taken customer funds, Bankman-Fried firmly responded, “No, I did not.”
Judge Determines Topics for Bankman-Fried’s Testimony
On Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan heard Bankman-Fried’s testimony without a jury present to decide which comments he would be allowed to make. Some of the topics under consideration included FTX’s data retention policy, Bankman-Fried’s oversight of the terms of service, the use of customer funds by Alameda, and details about Dan Friedberg, who was hired as FTX’s general counsel.
During his testimony on Friday, Bankman-Fried appeared more reflective and thoughtful in his responses compared to the previous day. He admitted to making several small mistakes but considered the lack of a risk management team at FTX as the biggest oversight, resulting in significant consequences.