The trial of Sam Bankman-Fried for crypto fraud inched closer to its end on Wednesday with closing arguments, The Guardian reports. Weeks of testimony described the FTX company’s collapse and the murkiness of digital currency markets. The prosecution painted Fried as an unabashed scammer, saying he created a “pyramid of deceit” with his cryptocurrency exchange. Prosecutor Nicholas Roos started his closing argument by describing the final days of FTX in November last year, which started with the crypto equivalent of a bank run. Exchange customers learned in a Coin Desk article that Alameda Research, FTX’s sister hedge fund, held billions in FTX’s own cryptocurrency, FTT, and had used it as collateral for hefty loans. After the report, the Binance chief executive, Changpeng Zhao, tweeted that his exchange would unload its $500 million in FTT holdings. FTT crumbled, bringing FTX and Alameda down with it.
Bankman-Fried faces seven counts of conspiracy and fraud charges for allegedly siphoning FTX customer funds into Alameda; the prosecution contends that he did so to cover Alameda’s widening debt following the spring 2022 crypto crash. Roos described Bankman-Fried’s alleged antics as “built by the defendant on a foundation of lies and false promises, all to get money. Eventually it collapsed, leaving countless victims in its wake.” Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, in effect argued that the prosecutor’s case hinged too heavily on Bankman-Fried’s scruffiness rather than the substance of his actions. Cohen repeatedly told jurors that Bankman-Fried was acting in good faith and insisted this was a defense to the charges.