The end to Sam Bankman-Fried’s time on the witness stand at his own trial was, to say the least, unceremonious.
On the last day of his cross-examination, Tuesday, SBF testified that he was aware in 2020 that FTX’s customer funds were stored in a bank account managed by its affiliate, hedge fund Alameda Research, according to CNN. He also stated he doesn’t remember instructing Alameda staff to secure those funds.
US Assistant Attorney Danielle Sassoon also pointed out SBF’s hobnobbing with the political elite and members of the Bahamian government, CNN noted.
In his testimony, Bankman-Fried said he dined with the prime minister of the island, as well as former U.S. President Bill Clinton and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
After FTX temporarily halted customer withdrawals during a liquidity crisis last November, he testified that he briefly reinstated withdrawals for Bahamian customers. SBF also stated that he doesn’t remember instructing Alameda staff to avoid using FTX customer deposits.
Then, despite later finding out in fall 2022 that Alameda owed FTX $8 billion, no one was terminated as a result, he testified.
AUSA Sassoon: And that was you, at the event with the Bahamas Prime Minister, Katy Perry, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Orlando Bloom?
AUSA: And you allowed the Bahamas PM to withdraw his funds?
SBF: Another member of the government, I think
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) October 31, 2023
Finally, on Tuesday, Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, allowed him to elaborate on the FTX-Alameda relationship. SBF stated that after stepping down as Alameda’s CEO, he reduced his involvement but remained engaged in its financial updates, venture investments, and crucial hedging decisions, which he viewed as vital for the firm’s survival.
“I was essentially uninvolved with those core operations,” he claimed.
Judge Lewis Kaplan said at about lunchtime Tuesday: “That concludes the presentation of evidence in this case.”
Closing arguments are slated for Wednesday.