U.S. prosecutors announced their decision to forgo a second trial for Sam Bankman-Fried, who was recently found guilty of embezzlement related to his now-defunct FTX cryptocurrency exchange. In a letter submitted to federal court in Manhattan on Friday, prosecutors emphasized the urgency of swiftly concluding their case against the 31-year-old former billionaire over pursuing another trial.
The prosecution stressed the significance of a timely resolution, especially with Bankman-Fried’s impending sentencing on March 28, 2024, likely involving directives for restitution and forfeiture to the victims impacted by his offenses.
Following a November 2 conviction on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy, which accused him of siphoning $8 billion from FTX customers driven by sheer avarice, Bankman-Fried faced an additional six charges, including campaign finance violations and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. However, the decision to not proceed with a second trial hinged on uncertainties around obtaining consent for trial proceedings on these remaining charges from the Bahamas, where FTX was headquartered.
This verdict arrived nearly a year after FTX’s bankruptcy filing, a swift collapse that erased Bankman-Fried’s former $26 billion fortune, marking one of the quickest downturns for a major player in U.S. financial markets.
As sentencing looms with potential decades in prison, the prosecution noted that much of the evidence pertinent to a second trial had already been presented in the initial proceedings. They emphasized that Judge Lewis Kaplan could consider Bankman-Fried’s overall conduct during sentencing, irrespective of a second trial’s outcome.
Bankman-Fried, anticipating an appeal against his conviction, maintained during the trial that while he made errors in managing FTX, he didn’t engage in theft of customer funds. He also defended the borrowing of funds from FTX by his hedge fund, Alameda Research, asserting his belief in its permissibility and admitting a lack of awareness regarding their precarious financial situation until shortly before both entities collapsed.
Since August, Bankman-Fried has remained incarcerated after the court revoked his bail, suspecting tampering with potential trial witnesses.