Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) took the stand for the fourth and final day this week as the last key witness as closing arguments will commence today (1 November).
SBF was in the firing line from US Attorney Danielle Sassoon, who began her second day of questioning.
Her main talking points of note was quizzing the ex-FTX CEO on whether he told customers that funds were being redirected to Alameda Research – the crypto hedge fund set up by SBF – to which he replied: “I don’t recall giving directions”, several times.
SBF would also not reply to Sassoon’s questioning of Alameda’s alleged spending of customer assets, rather reply with knowing they were ‘used’ rather than ‘spent’.
During his own testimony late last week, SBF brought up a tweet thread from 7 November just days before FTX filed for bankruptcy and its subsequent collapse, telling jurors that his “assets are fine” tweet was technically accurate as he believed that Alameda had enough funds to repay FTX deposits.
Sassoon went on to challenge this claim by focusing on FTX’s native token FTT, which made up a large portion of Alameda’s balance sheet. When asked if he knew that the crypto token was not nearly as much as Alameda could account for, SBF replied: “I don’t think I would’ve said that.”
Upon the news of hearing an $8bn shortfall on the FTX books a few months prior to the November 2022 collapse, SBF told employees at the company that they should stop asking questions.
Sassoon used these statements in SBF’s testimony against him, stating: “So, it’s your testimony that your supervisors told you to stop asking questions?”
During Nishad Singh’s – former FTX Engineer – testimony several weeks back, he recalled a conversation with SBF on the balcony of their home in the Bahamas, stating he felt ‘betrayed’ upon hearing the missing $8bn.
Singh revealed he asked SBF “how much are we short?” during their conversation on the apartment balcony, to which SBF responded that this was the “wrong question” and viewed it as a way to ask “How can we deliver?”
Sassoon also questioned SBF’s relationship with key regulators in the Bahamas, noting a “cosy relationship” between him and the President Philip Davis.
This was exemplified by asking the former FTX how Davis and his wife received tickets to Miami Heat games at the FTX Arena, now called the Kaseya Centre.
SBF said he knew that Davis and his wife went to games but did not know how they received tickets, to which Sassoon rebutted with a message chat that showed the couple using FTX seats to games.
Defence attorney’s rested the case following the government’s questioning as federal prosecutors declined to call rebuttal witnesses. Closing arguments on the trial will begin today.