Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, was arrested back in December 2022 and was extradited from the Bahamas. Now facing several criminal charges, Bankman-Fried and his lawyers are not only pleading ‘not guilty’, but are also now requesting that the court dismiss the charges he is facing. He was charged with defrauding investors, who lost billions of money in cryptocurrency when his empire collapsed. This collapse was a result of a number of factors, but one main contributor to this collapse was his illegal misuse of investor funds.
What charges does SBF face?
As we mentioned before, Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested and initially charged with defrauding investors who put money into his exchange. His misuse of investor funds went directly against FTX’s own terms of service.
In addition to this initial charge, he was later charged with several more charges. They accused him of securities fraud, wire fraud, illegal campaign contributions, bank fraud, and operating an unlicensed money business to name a few.
As you can see, there are quite a number of charges SBF is facing. It makes sense that he and his lawyers would request that they be dismissed considering the number he’s facing. If he were charged with them, he would be going to jail for what is essentially a life-term.
What are his lawyers arguing?
Obviously in order to have criminal charges dismissed, you need to have a pretty strong case against them. As we mentioned before, SBF’s charges are certainly not light and total around 155 years should he be charged.
His lawyers have made several claims that they are hoping will be enough to get all 13 charges against him dismissed.
One argument SBF’s lawyers have made is that the U.S. government has made a dramatic and troubling response to the market crash that occurred with cryptocurrency last year. They mention that FTX actually lasted a lot longer than most other cryptocurrencies during the crash before it entered bankruptcy.
His lawyers have also made claims that the additional charges that were filed violated an extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Bahamas.
SBF’s lawyers believe that the reason for the harsh charges against him are due to their dislike of cryptocurrency as a whole and state the following: “In the wake of the ‘crypto winter,’ the Government, in hindsight, may dislike or disapprove of business practices of the cryptocurrency industry, FTX, or even Mr. Bankman-Fried — but this does not give it license to turn them into federal crimes.”
It seems as though SBF’s lawyers strongly believe that the majority of his charges are unjust and a result of the failure of FTX and have little to do with the charges filed.
How likely is it that the charges get dismissed?
It is likely still a little too early to tell for certain whether or not any of Bankman-Fried’s charges can or will be dismissed. It does seem like it will be a very difficult thing to do, however, considering the severity of the charges he is facing. Charges that add up to what can be considered a life sentence are no easy thing to dismiss, but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
At the very least, having some of the charges dismissed to lower his sentence is likely the goal SBF’s lawyers are realistically aiming for.
In many criminal cases, lawyers will try their best to ensure their defendant’s rights are being respected and that they can get as little punishment as possible. This doesn’t mean that they expect to get off scot-free, however. How the court chooses to proceed with SBF’s case is something only time will tell. Be sure to stay up to date with our blog to see more developments from this case!