Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The Sam Bankman-Fried case hinged on testimony and text messages from people at the top of FTX and Alameda Research. In this high-ranking circle there were FTX co-founders and SBF’s ex-girlfriend who at that time was the CEO of Alameda Research.
From dozens of pieces of evidence in the first three weeks of the trial, a collection of messages on the encrypted app Signal paint a clear picture of Bankman-Fried’s alleged crimes.
SBF faces seven criminal charges, including electronic transaction fraud, securities fraud and money laundering, which could land him in prison for life. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
In an effort to prove its case to a Manhattan jury, the government has presented a series of conversations on Signal involving Bankman-Fried, Caroline Ellison, her ex-boyfriend and former CEO of Alameda Research, and former friends and business executives Gary Wang, Nishad Singh, and Ryan Salame. Their chat is from November 2021.
CNBC International quoting directly from the FTX group Signal message.
One of the conversations came from their chat group. A chat group on Signal called a “small group chat” included Ellison, Bankman-Fried, and Joe Bankman, the defendant’s father, who advised the company on tax-related issues and other matters.
Also in the group are Ramnik Arora, former product lead for FTX Ryne Miller, who is the company’s general counsel and Constance Wang, former chief operating officer, as well as Salame, Singh, Wang and four others.
The conversation began with two messages from Bankman-Fried posted at 3:47 a.m. on November 7, 2022, the day FTX declared a liquidity crisis and began looking for cash to plug the gaping hole in its balance sheet.
At the time, Bankman-Fried pretended publicly that everything was fine.
“FTX is fine. Assets are fine,” he wrote in a tweet that day. The post has been deleted.
But when Bankman-Fried tweeted assurances and promised that customer funds were safe, executives grew concerned about the growing shortfall, according to prosecutors.
In this series of chat groups, Bankman-Fried suggested several possible things to do, including halting withdrawals, sending out “confident tweet threads” and contacting employees of companies like Silverlake, Sequoia and Apollo “as soon as they wake up in the next few hours” to try collect cash.
Later that morning, at around 5:22 a.m., Salame linked to one of the tweets from an anonymous crypto trader that said, “can’t wait for my FTX airdrop as it’s not moving my funds.”
Bankman-Fried expressed his idea to utilize the post to give false hope to FTX customers that they would receive free tokens if they did not withdraw their assets from FTX.
The next day, November 8, Ellison asked the group for help regarding creating a message to the public.
He wrote, “some people internally have asked me whether they should continue to make statements to external parties such as ‘Alameda is solvent.’ just stop replying to their messages? or what?”
On the same day FTX stopped all types of withdrawals from its platform. The price of FTT, FTX’s native token, plunged more than 75 percent, and FTX users raced to withdraw their funds.
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