SBF offers wooden ‘regret’ for not questioning highly unusual arrangement that netted his fund billions

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Sam Bankman-Fried coolly testified Tuesday that he felt “regret” for not questioning how his hedge fund “borrowed” billions of dollars in FTX user funds — but insisted the alleged theft was “permissible.” “I deeply regret not taking a deeper look at it,” the 31-year-old disgraced crypto ace said in Manhattan federal court, referring to his hedge fund Alameda and its unheard-of arrangement with his cryptocurrency exchange that allowed the fund to siphon off billions of dollars from FTX using a near-unlimited line of credit. But the onetime wunderkind, who claimed an underling came up with the arrangement, did not take responsibility or show any remorse for his customers’ funds vanishing in November 2022. Bankman-Fried also continued to claim at his fraud trial that he “did not recall” moments during FTX’s financial meltdown that included him ordering lieutenant Nishad Singh to build code allowing Alameda to allegedly steal the funds. Singh and fellow ex-FTX executives-turned-federal witnesses have all testified that Bankman-Fried called the main shots at Alameda and that the cocky MIT grad ordered Singh to give Alameda so-called “backdoor” access to customer funds. “I don’t recall giving any directions relating to it,” Bankman-Fried insisted, speaking in a robotic nasal monotone, when pressed about Alameda’s unchecked withdrawals during his final day of testimony. Despite his “regret,” Bankman-Fried later admitted that no one at the company was fired for orchestrating the multibillion-dollar “borrowing” of user funds. Bankman-Fried also claimed to not recall giving the Bahamas prime minister and his wife courtside seats to a Miami Heat basketball game in what was then called the FTX Arena — before being presented with clear evidence of doing so. US federal prosecutors later dropped campaign-finance charges against SBF at the behest of Bahamian authorities. Meanwhile, the ex-crypto golden boy’s frequent attempts to squirm out of prosecutor Danielle Sassoon’s questions again led to a rebuke from a federal judge. “Mr. Bankman-Fried, just answer the question,” an exasperated Judge Lewis Kaplan told the defendant at one point during questioning. Bankman-Fried’s father, Stanford Law School professor Joseph Bankman, was in attendance Tuesday and looked on from the gallery. After Bankman-Fried left the stand, prosecutors abandoned an earlier plan to call another witness or two to rebut aspects of his testimony and rested their case. Closing statements in the trial are slated to start Wednesday morning. Bankman-Fried faces what would amount to a life sentence in prison of convicted on the seven fraud and conspiracy counts he’s facing.

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