Sam Bankman Fried watches as Assistant U.S. attorney Thane Rehn delivers his opening remarks in Bankman Fried's fraud case over the collapse FTX, a bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange in Federal Court in New York City on October 4. Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
Lawyers presented their respective cases in their opening remarks to a newly-sworn-in federal jury on October 4th, offering two different narratives about the fall of Sam Bankman Fried's crypto-empire.
Assistant US Attorney Thane Rehn painted the picture of an evil, greedy businessman who's insatiable appetite for power and wealth led him to steal millions of dollars of customer funds.
Rehn stated that 'he had wealth, power and influence'. "But all that -- everything -- was built on a lie."
Rehn repeated the government's allegations that Bankman Fried used his crypto-exchange, FTX as his personal piggybank, using the money he stole from customers to enrich him and his family, purchase luxury beachfront properties in the Bahamas, and funnel millions of dollars into US political campaigns.
Rehn pointed to Bankman Fried, who was a few feet from him, and said: 'This guy stole billions of dollars'. He repeated a central point: Bankman-Fried lied, stole, recruited others to steal with him, lied to cover up the theft, and lied again to try to cover it up.
Bankman-Fried, in a suit, tie, and surrounded by his lawyers, focused his attention on a computer, without expressing any reaction to Rehn's accusations. Bankman-Fried became more relaxed as Mark Cohen, his lawyer, spoke. His focus then shifted from the prosecutor to the jury.