While FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has been doing the 'simple jack' routine in recent interviews, saying at last week's DealBook conference "I don’t personally think that I have [criminal liability]," his recent legal move suggests otherwise.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that SBF has hired white collar defense attorney Mark S. Cohen to represent him, as US authorities probe the implosion of SBF's crypto exchange. Cohen, a former assistant US attorney for the Eastern District of New York, recently defended Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex trafficking trial.
Regulators around the world, including in the Bahamas where FTX is domiciled, as well as in the United States, are looking into FTX's top executives at the time of its collapse. FTX filed for bankruptcy last month following a liquidity crisis that caused roughly $1 billion of customer funds to evaporate, after secretly transferring customer funds to its affiliate, Alameda Research, to try and plug the hole before its collapse.
Accidentally co-co-commingled funds make my eyes rain pic.twitter.com/KwOTfiLUFe— zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 30, 2022
Also consulting on the matter is Stanford Law School professor, David Mills. Notably, SBF's father - a Stanford professor, has withdrawn from teaching an upcoming class, reportedly in anticipation of helping in his son's defense.
Bankman-Fried had previously hired Martin Flumenbaum of law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, but the law firm said last month it was no longer representing him due to conflicts.
In recent weeks, U.S. authorities have sought information from investors and potential investors in FTX, according to two sources with knowledge of the requests. Federal prosecutors in New York are asking for details on any communications such firms have had with the crypto firm and its executives, including Bankman-Fried, the sources said. Bloomberg previously reported the information requests.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has been asking for similar information from investors as well, one of the sources said. -Reuters
According to anonymous sources, US authorities are likely looking for evidence of material misrepresentations to investors.
"I didn't ever try to commit fraud," SBF said during the DealBook conference.
SBF after "accidentally" committing fraud and "borrowing" $10 billion from his FTX customers. pic.twitter.com/HLesiE1b7Y— .. (@Xx17965797N) December 6, 2022