Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to enter a not guilty plea to the eight counts of fraud he has been charged with in court.
According to a Dec. 30 report from The Wall Street Journal, people familiar with the matter disclosed Bankman-Fried’s plans for his hearing in a Manhattan federal court on Jan. 3.
The FTX founder has been charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with eight criminal counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy and campaign finance violations. Although he can change his plea to guilty later, initially pleading not guilty at the arraignment hearing will give his lawyers time to build a legal case and see what kind of evidence prosecutors have on their hands. (Hear Martin Shkreli explain why Bankman-Fried was nearly certain to plead not guilty on the latest episode of Unchained.)
Recent testimony from FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, two members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle, makes the situation far less optimistic for him. Both the executives pleaded guilty and named Bankman-Fried as the person responsible for directing several actions, knowing it was entirely illegal.
Bankman-Fried is currently out on a $250 million bond, leaving him free to meet with legal counsel and others at his parents’ home in California where he is currently under house arrest.
The conditions of his bail, which do not restrict his access to the internet, raised suspicions among the crypto community after a series of high-value transfers were made from Alameda wallets last week.
The FTX founder denied accusations that he was behind the movement of these funds in a tweet on Dec. 30.
“None of these are me. I’m not and couldn’t be moving any of those funds; I don’t have access to them anymore,” tweeted Bankman-Fried.
“I believe it is likely the case that various legit legs of FTX have the ability to access these funds; hopefully that’s what’s happening here. If not, hopefully one steps in soon to do so. I would be happy to help advise regulators on this if any wanted,” he added.