‘Lied to the world’: Crypto prodigy SBF painted as calculated criminal on day one of historic trial

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Sam Bankman-Fried “lied to the world” as he built his cryptocurrency empire at FTX, telling only his friends and girlfriend the truth about what was happening, prosecutors said on the first day of a historic fraud trial. Nathan Rehn, an assistant US attorney, painted a picture of the 31-year-old as a calculated criminal who used investor deposits at FTX as a personal bank account before the company collapsed into bankruptcy a year ago. He said that only Bankman-Fried’s small inner circle knew that he was taking customer money to fund his lifestyle. “He had wealth, he had power, he had influence, but all of that was built on lies,” Rehn told jurors in federal court in Manhattan. “He was committing a massive fraud, and taking billions of dollars from thousands of victims.” Prosecutors included several references to former Alameda Research co-chief executive officer Caroline Ellison in their opening statements, as one of the individuals that knew what was going on behind the scenes. Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend, is the government’s star witness after reaching a cooperation deal last year. Gary Wang, former FTX chief technology officer and Nishad Singh, FTX’s former engineering director, are also expected to take the stand as cooperating witnesses.

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