If he continues to proclaim his innocence, the jury decided otherwise. Accused of fraud, criminal conspiracy and money laundering, Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty on Thursday November 2 of all seven counts by a jury in New York, after five weeks of a resounding trial. “SBF”, the fallen star of cryptocurrencies faces up to 110 years of criminal imprisonment in total. His sentence is to be pronounced at a later date. The prosecution accuses him of having used, without their knowledge, the funds deposited by the clients of his cryptocurrency exchange platform FTX, which went bankrupt in November 2022. The money fueled risky transactions and investments of his investment company, Alameda Research, whose borrowings from the platform reached up to around $14 billion.
“Find him guilty,” Danielle Sassoon, representative of Manhattan federal prosecutor Damian Williams, said in the morning. She described him as a “talented boss”, “ambitious”, who “amazed” the public, the press and even the elected representatives of Congress, who auditioned him three times. “He is someone who wanted to become president of the United States,” she recalled. Consumed by his appetite for grandeur, he wanted to make FTX the first global cryptocurrency exchange platform, according to her. In his race, “he wanted to spend billions taken from his clients’ accounts to gain power and relationships,” said the deputy prosecutor. “He had the arrogance to think he could commit fraud and get away with it.”
“SBF” admitted, at the hearing, to “big errors”, but always denied knowingly breaking the law. His lawyer portrayed him as a young entrepreneur lacking experience, who had acted in good faith. To exonerate the accused, “you would have to believe that he understood nothing” about what was happening within his own companies, another deputy prosecutor told the jury at the hearing, Nicolas Roos. “You’ve been watching this whole trial and you know none of it is true.” “Now it's up to you to decide who to believe,” federal judge Lewis Kaplan told the 12 jurors, before they retired to deliberate around 7:15 p.m. GMT on Thursday.
Within hours, they delivered an unsurprising verdict. The “SBF” affair began a year ago, when the media CoinDesk revealed that a considerable part of Alameda’s assets consisted of a cryptocurrency created by FTX, FTT. The revelation caused the collapse of this digital currency, and the “SBF” empire with it. Extradited from the Bahamas, where FTX's headquarters were located, the thirty-year-old, whose fortune had evaporated, was charged in mid-December with fraud and criminal conspiracy.