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Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 13:23 IST

SBF prosecutor claims FTX’s CTO’s cooperation sped up trial

Sam Bankman-Fried, aged 32, was convicted in November on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy by jurors in Manhattan.

Reported by: Business Desk
Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried | Image:AP Photo
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Gary Wang’s assistance: Following the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, US prosecutors swiftly moved to charge its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, with assistance from the exchange's former chief software engineer, revealed Assistant US Attorney Thane Rehn during a discussion hosted by law firm Wilson Sonsini.

Rehn acknowledged the role played by former FTX Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang in aiding investigators to comprehend how Bankman-Fried allegedly misappropriated $8 billion in customer funds. He highlighted that Wang's cooperation expedited the investigation, which might have otherwise taken weeks or even months for a software expert to unravel.

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Bankman-Fried, aged 32, was convicted in November on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy by jurors in Manhattan. His sentencing to 25 years in prison came five days prior to Rehn's remarks. Bankman-Fried, who testified that he made errors in risk management but denied any intent to steal funds, is expected to appeal his conviction.

Rehn highlighted the importance of the government's three key cooperating witnesses: Wang, former FTX engineering chief Nishad Singh, and Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Bankman-Fried's Alameda Research hedge fund. All three pleaded guilty to fraud and provided testimony against Bankman-Fried during his trial.

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During his testimony, Wang alleged that Bankman-Fried instructed him to modify FTX's software code to enable unlimited fund withdrawals by Alameda Research. Wang promptly shared relevant code from his laptop with prosecutors following FTX's collapse, facilitating a swift investigation.

The government's handling of the case was described as moving at a rapid pace by US Attorney Damian Williams. Prosecutors are expected to recommend leniency for Wang, Singh, and Ellison in their sentencing, considering their cooperation.

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Wang, expressing a desire to avoid imprisonment, has refrained from commenting through his lawyer, Ilan Graff. Bankman-Fried's spokesperson, Mark Botnick, declined to provide a statement.

(With Reuters inputs)

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Published April 3rd, 2024 at 13:23 IST

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