Sam Bankman-Fried retakes the stand at fraud trial

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NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Reuters) – FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried resumed testifying on Monday in his trial on fraud charges tied to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange, with prosecutors poised to challenge his assertion that he did not steal billions of dollars in customer funds. Bankman-Fried first is due to answer around two more hours worth of friendlier questions from his defense lawyer, Mark Cohen, who is expected to ask the 31-year-old former billionaire about his version of the dramatic events of November 2022, when FTX collapsed amid a wave of customer withdrawals. Three of Bankman-Fried’s former close confidantes, each of whom pleaded guilty and testified for the prosecution, earlier told the jury that he posted or directed others to post misleading messages on social media to give customers false assurance about FTX’s health in a bid to stop a run on deposits. During six hours of testimony on Friday about events earlier in 2022 and in prior years, Bankman-Fried sought to distance himself from specific actions he said the three cooperating witnesses took without his firsthand involvement. He also admitted to making “mistakes” that hurt FTX’s customers and employees, but said he never set out to take customers’ money. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud and five counts of conspiracy. Prosecutors have said he looted billions of dollars in FTX customer funds to prop up his hedge fund, Alameda Research, make speculative venture investments, and contribute to U.S. political campaigns. If convicted, he could face decades in prison. His decision to testify in his own defense is risky, as it opens him up to probing cross-examination by prosecutors. But legal experts told Reuters he may have viewed taking the stand as his best shot at countering testimony from the three cooperating witnesses that he directed them to commit crimes. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said jury deliberations could begin by Thursday or Friday. Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Will Dunham and Nick Zieminski Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Acquire Licensing Rights, opens new tab Luc Cohen Thomson Reuters Reports on the New York federal courts. Previously worked as a correspondent in Venezuela and Argentina. Jody Godoy Thomson Reuters Jody Godoy reports on banking and securities law. Reach her at

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