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"I Don't Recall": SBF's Trial in Quotes

SBF says "I don't recall" 100 times in court. Also, Solana pick Singapore for 2024 conference, Luno loses loot, and Gensler haunts crypto firms.

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We're over two weeks into FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's trial. For some, the crypto villain's trial is a gift that keeps on giving for entertainment value. But for victims of the FTX scandal, the trial is yet to achieve anything in terms of vindication.

Saying a lot without saying anything appears to be SBF's true gift, reportedly saying "I don't recall" 100 times in court and "yep" 42 times, "not sure" 99 times and "I don't remember" 51 times.

To save you the trouble of sifting through his trial, we've compiled a list of quotes from his recent days in court.

On Alameda Research

When asked about Alameda Research spending $8 billion in FTX customer funds, SBF claimed he learned about it through overhearing a conversation among his employees and was told to stop asking questions:

  • "I don’t know if this is right or wrong or for better or worse, I wasn’t particularly trying to build out blame for it. That wasn’t my priority. It was generally something I deprioritized as leader. I tried to focus as much as I could on what happened, what was the view going forward... "If it were far larger, I would have been calling a crisis."

SBF declares he would have done better if he was in the know:

  • “That was what myself and most of us had not been aware of in 2022, that roughly $8 billion liability. Had Alameda never had any relationship with FTX in any form I think we would have had much better systems in place to monitor the fiat account. In retrospect, our oversight of that was very poor.”

SBF was asked repeatedly whether taking FTX to repay creditors was margin trading:

  • "It's my testimony that it depends on the details but that it very well could be a margin trade... "I'm not saying that's what happened, and I'm not saying that's not margin trading."

U.S. Attorney Danielle Sassoon asked SBF if he was able to identify other customers aside from Alameda who received deposits on behalf of other customers:

  • "Not with 100% confidence."

Sassoon asked if SBF informed FTX customers that their funds were going to Alameda:

  • "I don't recall giving directions."

By August 2022, SBF was worried Alameda was going to collapse:

  • “I don’t tend to show a lot of freakoutness but, relative to my standard, yes.”

SBF was asked if he knew by November 2022 that FTT was illiquid and not worth as much as Alameda accounted for:

  • "I don't think I would've said that."

On His Private Jet

During his glory days, SBF was seen flying in his private jet. When asked if the cost of the jet was high, SBF said it was:

  • “Fairly small compared to the scale of the business at that point in time.”

SBF was asked whether the use of a private jet was a valid business expense:

“I didn’t believe it would be a valid business expense if it was used for recreational travel like a vacation. I didn’t use it for those purposes. It was very logistically difficult to travel between the Bahamas and other places, chiefly Washington, D.C.”

On Caroline Ellison

SBF told the court that his ex-girlfriend and Alameda CEO, Caroline Ellison would often send him balance sheets with multiple tabs in them, including calculations:

  • “Sometimes I would look at the other tabs at a high level, sometimes I wouldn’t.”

When asked about fake balance sheets created by Ellison in the multiple tabs, SBF stated:

  • “She had sent it to me and said she was thinking of sending this out and wanted to know if I had any thoughts. I remember saying, ‘Yeah, that sounds reasonable.’ I don’t recall going over multiple tabs….I just don’t have memory.”

SBF was asked how he was involved with Alameda after leaving his role as CEO and handing it over to Ellison:

  • "I did not get involved in day-to-day trading. Every day, Alameda would do millions of trades in billions of dollars. I was essentially uninvolved in these core operations after passing along the CEO job.”

SBF also spilt the tea on why his relationship with Ellison ended:

  • “I didn’t have the time or the energy to put in what I think she wanted from our relationship. It wasn’t the first time I had had that problem.”

On Regulators:

Now at the mercy of regulators and the law, SBF was asked whether he recalled saying "fuck regulation":

  • "Just once. I felt like all the work I had done to work with regulators may have wound up encouraging bad regulation instead of good regulation.”

Elsewhere:

  • Solana Brings Annual Conference to Singapore: The Solana Foundation has announced that it's annual Breakpoint conference will be held in Singapore in 2024. This year's edition, held in Amsterdam, is currently ongoing until November 3. Watch the livestream here.
  • HashKey Taps Retail Market with New Trading App: Hong Kong-based HashKey Exchange has launched a retail trading app, following approval from the local regulator. The app comes after HashKey initiated retail trading services on its website in August. As of October 30, the platform recorded a daily trading volume exceeding $100 million. HashKey also plans to introduce its ERC-20 utility token, HSK, to incentivize ecosystem growth, with a potential listing by mid-next year. Additionally, HashKey is exploring real-world asset tokenization, aligning with rising discussions around this new asset class.
  • Trick or Compliance? Gensler Haunts Crypto Firms with Halloween Heed: In a Halloween-themed post, SEC Chair Gary Gensler played no tricks, warning crypto firms to treat investors with compliance, not deceit. Using the spooktacular occasion to reflect on Bitcoin's 15th anniversary, he summoned the spirit of Satoshi Nakamoto, while lamenting the haunting regulatory evasion by some crypto entities. He urged these firms to unmask their compliance fears and ghost towards registration, lest they face a graveyard of legal troubles.
  • Luno Loses Loot – Malaysian Man Wins Big in Crypto Court Clash: A Malaysian man, Yew See Tak, secured nearly RM700,000 in damages from crypto firm Luno Malaysia, after suing them for negligence over unauthorized Bitcoin purchases from his account in 2021. The court found Luno negligent, awarding Yew RM597,920.05 plus RM100,000.00 as exemplary damages, The Malay Mail reported. Although Luno obtained a temporary pause on the ruling, a 14-day interim stay was granted pending Luno's appeal, post which Yew can demand the awarded sum if the appeal isn't filed or is unsuccessful​.
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