During his last day of testimony, which just so happened to fall on Halloween, FTX's disheveled ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried told a spooky story about his apparent disinterest in where billions of dollars went under his watch.
As The Verge reports, the defrocked crypto king gave some pretty confusing answers on his final day on the stand when asked about all those billions of dollars that were funneled from FTX to its sister firm, Alameda Research.
Indeed, assistant district attorney Danielle Sassoon has made something of a name for herself in her terse, flat questioning of Bankman-Fried as he plodded through the case's many specifics in his mumbling, nondescript manner.
One exchange in particular seems to sum up SBF's approach, intentional or not, to his own defense: when Sassoon asked the mop-topped 31-year-old whether he'd had much interest in a strange account labeled "fiat@ftx."
The fiat@ftx account, as was revealed at the end of last year, tracked how much money Alameda owed FTX. In his testimony this week, Bankman-Fried claims that somehow, he didn't learn of its existence until June 2022, and didn't find out the significance of the alleged $8 billion "hole" it contained until October of last year.
Stranger still, the founder and former CEO of FTX claims that he was, as The Verge transcribed per his testimony, "very surprised" when he discovered the account's gigantic balance all on his own the month before the exchange crashed. If it seems improbable that the person who created and ran FTX had to stumble across the fact that one of his firms had taken $8 billion American dollars from another, you're not alone.
Adam Yedidia, one of SBF's now-ex-confidantes who said during his own testimony that the young crypto scion was "sort of in charge of everything," claimed when he took the stand earlier in the trial that he'd asked his friend about the $8 billion in either June or July of last year, which would suggest the former CEO would have had some knowledge of the gigantic debt.
Try as he might, SBF was ultimately unable to slip out of that admission, but when Judge Lewis Kaplan — who has clearly been frustrated with the former crypto king throughout this entire process — demanded he answer the question directly, his response was so outlandish, it bears repeating outright.
When the ADA asked Bankman-Fried again whether or not he'd tried to find out more information about the account between June and October of last year, he admitted that he had — and that when he had, his employees told him, and we are not making this up, that "they were busy" and that he "should stop asking questions because it was distracting."
"So it’s your testimony that your supervisees told you to stop asking questions?" Sassoon asked.
"I wasn’t trying to build out blame for it," SBF replied.
It's hard to say what the jury, judge, and public are supposed to do with SBF's disjointed narrative — but we're likely to find out pretty soon, given that the trial's closing arguments are about to start.
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