Sam Bankman-Fried’s former colleague Nishad Singh takes stand at fraud trial

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[1/2]Former FTX Chief Executive Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces fraud charges over the collapse of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange, leaves following a hearing at Manhattan federal court in New York City, U.S. January 3, 2023. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo Acquire Licensing Rights NEW York, Oct 16 – Sam Bankman-Fried’s former colleague and fellow political donor Nishad Singh took the witness stand on Monday at the 31-year-old former billionaire’s fraud trial, becoming the third former member of his inner circle to testify against him. Singh, the former director of engineering at now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded guilty in February to wire fraud and conspiring to violate U.S. campaign finance laws. His lawyers, Andrew Goldstein and Russell Capone, said at the time he would assist the government “to the best of his ability.” In pleading guilty, Singh said in court that Bankman-Fried, FTX’s founder and chief executive officer, directed him to provide misleading financial information to auditors to make it appear as if the company’s revenues were higher than they actually were. He also said he was aware that Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s crypto-focused hedge fund, was borrowing money from FTX customers without their knowledge, and that he made political donations in his name using Alameda funds. “I understood that the donations were in part for the benefit of Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX and their ability to be politically influential,” Singh said at the time. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried looted billions of dollars from FTX customers to prop up Alameda, buy real estate, and donate more than $100 million to U.S. political campaigns to try to promote crypto-friendly legislation. Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to two counts of fraud and five counts of conspiracy tied to FTX’s November 2022 collapse. He has argued that while he made mistakes running FTX, he did not steal funds. Singh was a major donor to Democratic politicians, contributing $8 million to campaigns in the 2022 election cycle. In court papers, prosecutors said a political consultant working for Bankman-Fried told Singh that “you being the center left face of our spending will mean you giving to a lot of woke shit for transactional purposes.” BANKMAN-FRIED NEEDS MORE ADDERALL, LAWYERS SAY Singh is the third former member of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle who has testified at the trial, which started on Oct. 3. Jurors have already heard from Gary Wang, FTX’s former technology chief, and Caroline Ellison, Alameda’s onetime chief executive officer and Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend. In a late Sunday letter to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers said he needs to be given a higher dose of Adderall in jail each morning to treat his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in order to focus at trial and decide whether to testify in his own defense. Since his trial on charges of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds kicked off on Oct. 3 in Manhattan federal court, Bankman-Fried has been seen during testimony typing on a laptop and whispering to his lawyers. Prosecutors have said they may rest their case as soon as Oct. 26. Defendants in U.S. criminal cases have no obligation to present evidence, and taking the stand carries the risk of being subjected to probing cross-examination by prosecutors. But Bankman-Fried has defied the conventional playbook for white collar defendants of remaining largely silent. He published blog posts a month after his Dec. 12, 2022 arrest, and shared Ellison’s private writings with a New York Times reporter. Kaplan said that likely amounted to witness tampering on Aug. 11 and remanded him to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center. Read Next / Editor’s Picks World at Workcategory Ford chairman calls for deal to end UAW strike 2:58 PM UTC ¬∑ Updated ago article with video Explainer What Israel-Hamas war means for global oil market 12:58 PM UTC article with video World at Workcategory UAW says new strikes at Detroit Three will come without notice October 13, 2023 article with gallery Sustainabilitycategory EU lawmakers push to weaken corporate sustainability disclosure October 13, 2023 Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York Editing by 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.

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