Sam Bankman-Fried Uses Weasel Words, Suffers from Memory Loss During Testimony

Cryptocurrency exchange FTX, founded by former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, owes an estimated $3
Cointelegraph/Wikimedia Commons.

Disgraced former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried appeared to suffer from memory loss, dodged questions, and gave vague answers when answering the prosecutions’ questions as he took the stand in his own defense against multiple fraud charges.

Prosecutor Danielle Sassoon led a roughly four-hour cross-examination of Sam Bankman-Fried, to which the former chief executive of the digital currency platform FTX appeared to use weasel words to avoid answering questions.

Sassoon asked about how Bankman-Fried told a journalist that Alameda Resarch, a hedge fund and sister firm to FTX, did not have special privileges on FTX.+

Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the courthouse

Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the courthouse

A CNBC News article quoted Bankman-Fried saying that Alameda was a “neutral piece of market infrastructure.”

When asked if he denied saying it, Bankman-Fried responded, “I’m not saying I didn’t say that.” This engendered groans from those in the courtroom.

Bankman-Fried testified last week that he said he was “not sure” whose decision it was to use FTX customer funds for investments on the hedge fund Alameda Research. SBF also admitted in court that he only skimmed his own platform’s terms of service.

Bankman-Fried proceeded to use a number of weasel words or often said he did not recall:

When confronted with a difficult question, Bankman-Fried would often rely on his vast vocabulary of weasel phrases. They included: “I don’t recall,” “I’m not entirely sure,” “that’s not how I thought of it,” “depends on the context,” “it’s possible,” “something to that effect,” “not to my memory,” “it could have been,” “I wouldn’t phrase it that way,” “to some extent,” “no, but I may have,” “I don’t know,” “that wasn’t how I understood it at the time,” “depends on how you define it,” or “that’s a hypothetical.” Several times, Judge Kaplan sternly reminded Bankman-Fried: “Answer the question you were asked.”

Bankman-Fried’s style of answering questions frustrated Sassoon so much that she snapped, “That’s not my question, Mr. Bankman-Fried.”

Sam Enzer, a former prosecutor, said that Bankman-Fried’s decision to testify is “foolish.”

By speaking to the press, he created a record of statements that the government had a year to put under a microscope,” Enzer explained.

Bankman-Fried stands accused of seven counts of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering on his alleged use of FTX customer funds to cover the losses of his hedge fund, Alameda Research. He also allegedly used those funds to purchase real estate and cover other personal expenses. Bankman-Fried pled not guilty to all counts and faces up to 110 years in prison.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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