Fallen ‘Crypto King’ Sam Bankman-Fried gets 25 years for fraud

Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of the failed crypto exchange FTX, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding customers and investors of his now-bankrupt firm.

The ruling cements the downfall of the former billionaire, who emerged as a high profile champion of crypto before his firm’s dramatic collapse in 2022.

He was found to have stolen billions from customers ahead of the failure.

Bankman-Fried’s legal team will appeal against his conviction.

A message from his parents shared with the BBC by a representative for Bankman-Fried said: “We are heartbroken and will continue to fight for our son.”

Earlier, the 32-year-old said in court he knew “a lot of people” felt “really let down”.

“I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage,” he said, speaking quietly and clearly ahead of his sentencing.

FTX was one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges before its demise, turning Bankman-Fried into a business celebrity and attracting millions of customers who used the platform to buy and trade cryptocurrency.

Rumours of financial trouble sparked a run on deposits in 2022, precipitating the firm’s implosion and exposing Bankman-Fried’s crimes.

He was convicted by a New York jury last year on charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, after a trial that detailed how he had taken more than $8bn (£6.3bn) from customers, and used the money to buy property, make political donations and put toward other investments.

Before reading the sentence on Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan provided a harsh assessment of Bankman-Fried’s behaviour, saying he had lied during his testimony at trial when he claimed he was unaware until the last minute that his companies were taking money entrusted to them for safe-keeping by customers and using it for other purposes.

“He knew it was wrong. He knew it was criminal. He regrets that he made a very bad bet about the likelihood of getting caught but he’s not going to admit a thing,” the judge said.

Though Bankman-Fried had made “protestations of sorrow” about customer losses, he had uttered “never a word of remorse for the commission of terrible crimes”, he added.

While 25 years constitutes a serious prison sentence, it is far less than the more than 100 years Bankman-Fried could have received under official government guidelines.


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