His testimony at the bar of Manhattan federal court was uncertain until the last moment. After twelve days of trial, Sam Bankman-Fried was finally heard on Friday by the jury, which will have to judge whether the founder of the FTX exchange platform is guilty or not – among other things – of having defrauded by drawing from funds of its customers. He swears no, only recognizing “errors”. Its biggest? “Not having set up a dedicated risk management team.”
His line of defense consists largely of placing the blame on FTX's former legal director and the consulting law firm that supported him. During a technical hearing - without jurors - of three hours the day before, intended to judge the admissibility of his testimony, Sam Bankman-Fried showed himself to be very uncomfortable with certain questions from the prosecutor. Language tics, hesitations, even downright lapses of memory on certain conversations, on the signing of various documents or on the reasons why he activated the automatic message deletion function on the Signal platform used to communicate with his close guard.
“Be clearer!” Judge Lewis Kaplan told him. By having the main accused testify, the defense went all out, after a series of damning testimonies from his former close collaborators and friends. All admitted to having committed financial crimes at the request of the ex-CEO. The arguments and deliberations are expected to begin next week.