Cocoa broker testifies to Bitcoin holdings on FTX in Sam Bankman-Fried trial

The prosecuting attorneys in the criminal case against former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, have started to call witnesses.

According to an Oct. 4 X (formerly Twitter) thread by Inner City Press, the Assistant United States Attorneys presented testimony from a London-based cocoa broker named Marc-Antoine Julliard who used FTX for crypto trading. Julliard spoke on learning about the crypto exchange from a friend, seeing advertisements for the firm by Gisele Bündchen, and using the FTX mobile app for trading cryptocurrencies including Dogecoin (DOGE).

In testimony before the court, the cocoa broker said he had 4 Bitcoin (BTC) worth roughly $80,000 at the time he was unable to withdraw from FTX in November 2022, following a Twitter post from Bankman-Fried that “assets were fine”. SBF’s legal team reportedly asked Julliard whether he had had contact with FTX prior to his testimony, and the reasons behind his crypto investment.

Among the witnesses expected to testify at trial are former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh, former FTX chief operating officer Constance Wang and SkyBridge Capital co-founder Anthony Scaramucci. It’s unclear whether Bankman-Fried intends to take the stand himself.

Related: FTX-SBF charges valid despite lack of US crypto laws, DOJ says

Judge Lewis Kaplan completed jury selection the morning of Oct. 4, whereupon defense lawyers and prosecutors began opening arguments in the criminal trial. Assistant U.S. Attorney claimed SBF had lied to FTX users, lawmakers, and the public regarding the financial state of the company, as the former CEO’s defense team partly placed blame on Caroline Ellison.

Bankman-Fried faces 7 criminal charges related to the misuse of FTX customer funds in his first trial, for which he has pleaded not guilty. He will face 5 additional charges in a second trial scheduled for March 2024.

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