July 24, 2024
SBF’s prosecutors emphasize the case is not about crypto: 'It’s about lies. It’s about stealing, greed.'

Sam Bankman-Fried has been on trial on charges of fraud and money laundering for just over four weeks, and the case looks like it’s finally drawing to a close. The prosecution began its closing statements on Wednesday; it was the defense’s turn after lunch.

Assistant U.S. attorney Nicolas Roos stood in front of jurors from 10 a.m. ET until the court broke for lunch around 1 p.m. reiterating the prosecution’s case: Bankman-Fried lied, made false promises and is responsible for billions of dollars lost for thousands of investors on FTX. And on top of that, that Bankman-Fried had many opportunities to come clean, but didn’t.

At one especially dramatic moment, Roos pointed at the defendant and said, “Who is responsible? This man: Samuel Bankman-Fried.” The former CEO of FTX did not look back, but he tilted his head slightly.

Meanwhile, Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s lead attorney, said the government is making a Hallmark movie-like case against Bankman-Fried and that he made “bad business judgments.”

“The government has tried to paint Sam into some sort of villain, some sort of monster,” Cohen said, using a soft voice. He mentioned that the prosecution has brought up his looks, the $30 million Bahamas apartment in which he lived with other execs, celebrity connections and his sex life. The prosecution did this, Cohen said, “to make him into someone you dislike … rather than make the case.”

His appearance, romantic relationships or being the “worst dressed CEO” have nothing to do with whether he’s guilty, Cohen said. “Every movie needs a villain … they wrote him in as [one].”

The prosecutor emphasized how it was wrong of FTX to use customers’ funds without their knowledge or approval. “It was a universal view: Customer funds belong to customers and can’t be used,” Roos said, adding that even FTX’s terms of service stated that users’ deposits belonged to users.

According to the evidence, there was a “huge difference between what FTX said it had for customers versus what it actually had” and how billions of dollars were missing, Roos said. “This is not about complicated crypto [terms]. It’s about deception. It’s about lies. It’s about stealing; greed.”

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