NEW YORK, Jan 3 (Reuters) – Sam Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to criminal charges that he cheated investors in his now-bankrupt FTX cryptocurrency exchange and caused billions of dollars in losses, in what prosecutors have called an “epic” fraud.
He entered his plea in Manhattan federal court where he faces eight criminal counts, including wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. The 30-year-old ex-mogul is accused of looting FTX customers’ deposits to support his Alameda Research hedge fund, buy real estate and donate millions of dollars to political causes.
“Customer funds were also used and laundered through political donations, charitable donations and a variety of venture investments,” Danielle Sassoon, a federal prosecutor, said at the hearing.
Sassoon suggested that the government has a deep well of evidence against Bankman-Fried, saying prosecutors will turn over hundreds of thousands of documents in coming weeks to the defense.
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan on Tuesday set an Oct. 2 date for trial, which Sassoon said could last four weeks.
The government has already secured guilty pleas from two former top associates of Bankman-Fried’s – former Alameda chief executive Caroline Ellison and former FTX chief technology officer Gary Wang – who are cooperating