Jury selection was initiated on Tuesday for the fraud trial involving FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. The prosecution disclosed that no discussions regarding a potential plea agreement have transpired since the cryptocurrency executive’s arrest and extradition to the United States over the span of 10 months.
Prior to bringing approximately 50 potential jurors into a Manhattan courtroom, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos indicated that the government had broached the possibility of negotiating a plea resolution with Bankman-Fried’s lawyers at an early stage.
The allegations contend that Bankman-Fried defrauded numerous individuals who deposited cryptocurrency on the FTX exchange by diverting substantial amounts of their funds for personal use, including engaging in high-risk trades at his cryptocurrency hedge fund, Alameda Research. Moreover, he stands accused of utilizing customer funds to acquire real estate and make significant political contributions in an attempt to influence government regulation pertaining to cryptocurrency.
Up until the early fall of last year, Bankman-Fried positioned himself as a stabilizing influence in the cryptocurrency sector. He allocated millions of dollars for celebrity advertisements during the 2022 Super Bowl, promoting FTX as the “safest and easiest way to buy and sell crypto” and “the most trusted way to buy and sell” digital assets.