Ex-FTX exec rips Sam Bankman-Fried’s ‘excessive’ spending as jurors see pics of him hanging with celebs including Katy Perry at Super Bowl

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A former top executive at Sam Bankman-Fried’s failed cryptocurrency exchange ripped him Monday for “excessive” spending and “flashiness” – while jurors at his fraud trial were shown a picture of him posing with with Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Kate Hudson at the 2022 Super Bowl. Nashad Singh, the former lead engineer at FTX, detailed in Manhattan federal court how the fallen crypto prince’s now-bankrupt exchange and it’s affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research, spent hundreds of millions on celebrity endorsement deals and lavish real estate purchases. “It all reeked of excess and flashiness,” Singh testified. Among the evidence introduced to jurors was the photo – posted by the pop star Perry on her Instagram – of a grinning Bankman-Fried hobnobbing with celebs in luxury box seats at the February NFL championship game that unfolded months before FTX’s implosion that November. Also in the photo were executives from the venture capital firm K5 Global, which Bankman-Fried paid hundreds of millions of dollars to in bonuses to connect him with A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio and Kylie Jenner and with Hillary Clinton at a dinner, according to trial testimony. K5 is run by Michael Kives, a former Clinton aide turned Hollywood super agent. “We can get from them essentially infinite connections,” Bankman-Fried boasted of Kives’ company in an internal memo shown to jurors. “I think that if we asked them to arrange a dinner with us, Elon [Musk], Obama, Rihanna and [Mark] Zuckerberg in a month, they would probably succeed,” the accused fraudster added. Singh testified that he complained to Bankman-Fried that he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by the company’s spending – and that it “didn’t align with what I thought we were building the company for.” But Bankman-Fried – who his ex-girlfriend and former business partner testified would both lie and steal so long as he believed he was pursuing the “greater good” of society – told Singh that access to celebrities was crucial to the company’s growth, his former employee testified. Jurors also saw an internal spreadsheet detailing $1.13 billion Bankman-Fried’s company spent on splashy sponsorships and celebrity endorsements to bolster its image as a “safe” way to buy and sell digital currency. The deals included: $205 million on naming rights to the Miami Heat’s NBA arena; $150 million to place FTX logos on Major League Baseball jerseys; $28.5 million to pro-baller Stephen Curry; $50 million to football star Tom Brady and model Gisele Bündchen; and $10 million to comedian Larry David. Bankman-Fried also purchased a penthouse apartment in the Bahamas worth around $35 million over Singh’s objections that it was too flashy, according to the testimony. “Sam liked the views,” Singh testified. FTX sued Kives’ company in June seeking $700 million that Bankman-Fried allegedly authorized to be spent on the company despite no payoff for FTX or its customers – who were footing the bill. Bankman-Fried, 31, has pleaded not guilty to counts of fraud and conspiracy stemming from his alleged theft of more than $8 billion in FTX user funds to plug losses at Alameda. He faces what would amount to a life sentence in prison, if convicted. Singh is set to face questioning by Bankman-Fried’s defense attorneys Tuesday. The trial is expected to last until at least November.

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