‘The percentages appear to be stacked in opposition to him at this level’
All eyes are on Sam Bankman-Fried this week as the previous CEO of crypto trade FTX goes on trial in one of many greatest monetary fraud circumstances of this decade on Tuesday. And it figures: That is set to be a kind of circumstances that’s going to encourage a bunch documentaries and books (there’s one already), since crypto is so new, there was a lot drama round Bankman-Fried and his former colleagues, there’s the sheer scale of the alleged fraud, and the huge quantities of cash concerned.
Nonetheless, there’s numerous hypothesis about what the case may seem like. So to get to the meat of the matter, we spoke to a handful of authorized specialists on what to anticipate.
Right here’s what we all know: Bankman-Fried will go on trial for seven counts of alleged fraud and conspiracy over a six-week interval, and if sentenced, he may spend the remainder of his life in jail. It’s a monetary crimes case, and there can be numerous boring documentation concerned, however we will additionally count on some spicy drama on condition that numerous Bankman-Fried’s former colleagues have already pleaded responsible and could also be testifying in opposition to him..
Some legal professionals assume the case may drag on for for much longer than the six weeks, although. (There’s a separate trial scheduled in March 2024 for costs associated to political corruption and cash laundering.)
“Crypto is so sophisticated and so new, the prosecution must dedicate numerous time simply to elucidate what distinguishes it from bizarre shares and bonds,” Anthony Sabino, professor of legislation at The Peter J. Tobin Faculty of Enterprise at St. John’s College, advised TechCrunch+.
After which there’s the $8 billion that Bankman-Fried is alleged to have scammed from prospects. “In a single sense, that is your Enron, your Bernie Madoff, that once-in-a-decade kind of trial,” Christopher LaVigne, a associate within the litigation group at legislation agency Withers, mentioned. “It’s an enormous deal and simply attempting to get a way of the sum of money that was misplaced and that’s presently being spent attempting to chase it round. It’s going to go on for a very long time to come back, similar to Bernie Madoff’s chapter [trial] went on without end.”
Nevertheless it’s a monetary crimes case, so there’s additionally going to be numerous slower elements the place the legal professionals and specialists get into the nitty gritty. “There’s going to be the section of the trial the place they should introduce the transactional proof, and that’s when jurors go to sleep and it’s simply boring. It’s a doc case,” LaVigne mentioned. Nonetheless, it’s a routine and redundant a part of the proceedings, and needs to be performed to make a case on either side.
In line with Christine Adams, a former federal prosecutor who’s presently a associate at legislation agency Adams, Duerk & Kamenstein, that is basically a mix of the Elizabeth Holmes Theranos case and the Bernie Madoff case: Each these circumstances had a seemingly genius founder/mastermind behind a posh and allegedly profitable enterprise that finally turned out to be one thing a lot much less concrete and authorized.
The testimonies of Bankman-Fried’s former colleagues and staffers who entered into plea offers with the federal government are certain to be thrilling, Sabino feels. And lots of people are anticipating the testimonies of these presently overseeing FTX’s chapter, who will clarify what they discovered upon assuming custody of the agency, its belongings, and its data.