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FTX Co-Founder Sam Bankman-Fried to Enter Plea Next Week

The co-founder of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, is expected to enter his plea in court on Jan. 3, according to court documents. Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear in a New York City courtroom for his arraignment, where he’ll either plead guilty to the eight fraud and conspiracy charges against him or go to trial. Two of Bankman-Fried’s associates have already pleaded guilty to fraud charges and are said to be cooperating with investigators. 

Bankman-Fried was extradited from the Bahamas earlier this month as US authorities continue investigating FTX’s titanic collapse. Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried took people’s money stored with the cryptocurrency exchange and fraudulently sent it to and from Alameda Research, his cryptocurrency hedge fund. In interviews with various media outlets, Bankman-Fried has denied any criminal wrongdoing or intent.

Samuel Raymond and Andrew Rohrbach have been named as prosecutors in Bankman-Fried’s case, court documents show. Among other cases, Raymond handled the seizure of a painting looted by Nazi forces during World War II that was returned to its rightful owners in Ukraine. Rohrbach was one of the prosecutors leading the case against Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Judge Ronnie Abrams, originally slated to preside over the Bankman-Fried court proceedings, has recused herself after noting that her husband’s law firm had advised FTX in 2021. The case has been reassigned to New York Southern District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who’s taken high-profile cases involving organized crime and art fraud.

Separate from Bankman-Fried’s case, the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into $370 million that went missing just hours after FTX declared bankruptcy. The investigation will be led by the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team, which the DOJ launched last year to focus on cybercrime associated with cryptocurrency.

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