A former top executive at Sam Bankman Fried’s failed cryptocurrency exchange accused him on Monday of “excessive” and “flashy” spending – as jurors in his fraud trial were shown a photo of him with Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom and Kate Hudson in the courtroom. 2022 Super Bowl.
Nishad Singh, a former lead engineer at FTX, detailed in Manhattan federal court how the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange Prince and its hedge fund, Alameda Research, spent hundreds of millions on celebrity endorsement deals and lavish real estate purchases.
“The whole thing reeked of excess and flamboyance,” Singh testified.
Among the evidence presented to jurors was a photo — which pop star Perry posted on her Instagram — of a smiling Bankman Fried posing with celebrities in luxury seats at February’s NFL championship game that unfolded months before FTX’s collapse in November.
Also in the photo were executives from the venture capital firm K5 Global, to which Bankman-Fried paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses for connecting him with celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Kylie Jenner and with Hillary Clinton at a dinner party, according to the Verge website. . Trial testimony.
K5 is run by Michael Caves, a former Clinton aide turned Hollywood super agent.
“We can get endless contacts from them,” Bankman-Fried boasted of Caves in an internal memo shown to jurors.
“I think if we asked them to arrange dinner with us, Elon [Musk]And Obama and Rihanna and [Mark] “They will probably succeed Zuckerberg within a month,” the accused fraudster added.
Singh testified that he complained to Bankman Fried that he was “embarrassed” and “ashamed” by the company’s spending — and that it was “not in line with what I thought we were building the company for.”
But Bankman-Fried — whose ex-girlfriend and former business partner testified that he would lie and steal as long as he believed he was pursuing the “greater good” of society — told Singh that access to celebrities was crucial to the company’s growth, he told him. The former employee testified.
Jurors also saw an internal spreadsheet detailing $1.13 billion Bankman-Fried spent on splashy sponsorships and celebrity endorsements to boost its image as a “safe” way to buy and sell cryptocurrencies.
The deals included: $205 million on naming rights to the Miami Heat’s NBA arena; $150 million to put FTX logos on Major League Baseball jerseys; $28.5 million for football supporter Stephen Curry. $50 million for football star Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen; And $10 million for comedian Larry David.
Bankman-Fried also bought a penthouse in the Bahamas worth about $35 million over Singh’s objections that it was too flashy, according to testimony.
“Sam loved the scenery,” Singh testified.
FTX sued Kives in June for $700 million, which Bankman-Fried allegedly allowed to be spent on the company despite not paying any compensation to FTX or its clients — who were footing the bill.
Freed Bankman, 31, has pleaded not guilty to fraud and conspiracy charges stemming from his alleged theft of more than $8 billion in FTX user funds to offset losses in Alameda.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Singh is scheduled to face cross-examination by Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney on Tuesday.
The trial is expected to last until at least November.
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