Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to plead not guilty to defrauding FTX investors, reports say

Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in court on January 3.Images by Alex Wong/Getty

  • Sam Bankman-Fried is likely to plead not guilty, according to The Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

  • He faces multiple criminal charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

  • Bankman-Fried’s former associate Caroline Ellison pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Sam Bankman-Fried is likely to plead not guilty to charges that he defrauded investors and looted billions of dollars from the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, sources told the Wall Street Journal and Reuters.

The former chief executive is expected to appear in court in New York City on Tuesday afternoon to file a statement.

He is facing multiple criminal charges including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.

If convicted, Bankman-Fried could face up to 115 years in prison, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors say he “orchestrated a years-long fraud” to cover up the diversion of funds from FTX to Alameda Research, a hedge fund he also controlled. He has also used these funds to buy real estate and make tens of millions of dollars in political donations.

They also allege that Bankman-Fried’s criminal conduct contributed to the cryptocurrency exchange’s collapse in November, which prevented many investors from accessing their funds.

He admitted to making mistakes at FTX, but maintains he does not hold himself criminally responsible.

Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested on December 12 in the Bahamas at the request of the US government. His indictment was opened the next day and he was extradited to New York.

He was later released on $250 million bond. He was required to surrender his passport and stay at his parents’ home in California, wearing an ankle monitor, before his court appearance.

It is not unusual for criminal defendants to initially plead not guilty and defendants may later amend their plea, Reuters reported.

However, a not guilty plea would put him at odds with his former associates.

Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX cofounder Gary Wang both pleaded guilty to similar criminal charges that Bankman-Fried faces. They are cooperating with prosecutors.

A Bankman-Fried spokesperson did not immediately respond to an Insider’s request for comment, sent outside normal business hours

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