The 30-year-old FTX founder, formerly worth an estimated $26 billion, faces up to 115 years in prison.

In the United States, the former cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman Fried has pleaded not guilty to fraud charges and denies allegations that he defrauded investors out of billions of dollars.

On Tuesday, lawyers for 30-year-old Bankman-Fried, founder of the now insolvent FTX cryptocurrency exchangepleaded not guilty at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan in New York City.

Prosecutors have accused Bankman-Fried of committing large-scale fraud, claiming he made billions of dollars in investor funds to purchase real estate, make political donations, and support his cryptocurrency trading hedge fund, Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried is charged with, among other things, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He could face up to 115 years in prison if convicted. Judge Kaplan has set a tentative trial date for October 2 this year.

Before his chaotic demise, Bankman-Fried has been hailed as a mover and shaker in the emerging digital currency scene. He amassed a fortune that once reached an estimated $26 billion and used his wealth to become an influential donor in American politics.

However, in early November, FTX experienced a collapse amid concerns that the cryptocurrency exchange was insolvent. Investors rushed to withdraw their money and wipe out Bankman-Fried’s fortune.

Without sufficient funds, FTX was forced to stop processing the withdrawals, leaving some investors unsure if they would ever receive their funds. The company went bankrupt on November 11.

Bankman fried was extradited of the Bahamas in December, where he lived and where FTX was located. He was released on a $250 million bail on Dec. 22 and lives at home with his parents in Palo Alto, California, under electronic surveillance as he awaits trial.

“If you have participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it,” US attorney Damian Williams said in a statement, encouraging others involved in the scandal to come forward. “We are moving fast and our patience is not eternal.”

Ahead of Tuesday’s arraignment, Williams announced the creation of a federal investigation into FTX’s business dealings, the Southern District of New York (SDNY) FTX Task Force. It would be tasked with investigating and prosecuting any further irregularities arising from the scandal.

“It is an all hands on deck moment. We are launching the SDNY FTX Task Force to ensure that this urgent work continues, powered by all of SDNY’s resources and expertise, until justice is served,” Williams said in a press statement.

Last monthAlameda’s former chief executive Caroline Ellison and FTX’s former chief technology officer Gary Wang agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including fraud.

At a hearing on Dec. 19 said Ellison that Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives had received billions of dollars in secret loans from Alameda Research.

“We prepared certain quarterly balance sheets that hid the size of Alameda’s loans and the billions of dollars in loans Alameda had made to FTX executives and related parties,” Ellison told U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams in a Manhattan federal court. according to a translation.

Ellison and Wang also settled civil suits filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The implosion of FTX and increasing attention to Bankman-Fried have sparked new questions about the future of cryptocurrency, which have sparked frenzied interest from investors big and small, as well as skepticism and accusations of grievance.



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