Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, has claimed that key pieces of evidence required for his defense against multiple fraud charges have not been turned over by prosecutors. In a letter to United States District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan on June 5, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers stated that the government had missed discovery deadlines for the contents of five electronic devices, including a laptop and iPhone owned by former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, and a laptop belonging to FTX co-founder Gary Wang. Bankman-Fried is set to face court on October 2 on a range of charges, including claims of illegal political donations and bribes to the Chinese government. Despite the missed deadlines, he does not want to adjourn the trial date, and additional motions may be filed if the newly produced discovery provides grounds for new motions.
The letter also revealed that the government had failed to produce information related to FTX debtors, and that the late productions had a “cumulative effect on the defense’s ability to properly prepare for trial.” According to the letter, the five productions thus far total over 3.6 million documents and over 10 million pages, with the last production received by the defense on May 25 containing just under 2.5 million documents, which more than triples the documents in the existing discovery.
Meanwhile, FTX bankers charged with bailing out the exchange are allegedly looking to cash out shares in Anthropic, a company in the artificial intelligence sector. Perella Weinberg, the investment banking firm on retainer to the bankrupt exchange, has reportedly been offering the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars of shares in Anthropic to potential investors, according to a report by Semafor on June 6. At the time of FTX’s bankruptcy in November 2022, the exchange held $500m worth of Anthropic stock, which is now estimated to be worth significantly more. In May 2023, Anthropic raised $450m in its latest funding round, with a reported valuation of $4.6bn.
The missed discovery deadlines for key pieces of evidence required for Bankman-Fried’s defense are a significant setback, as they could influence the defense team’s ability to properly prepare for the trial, which is only a few months away. The government’s failure to produce information related to FTX debtors is also a concern, as it could have an impact on the defense’s ability to challenge the allegations against Bankman-Fried. The potential sale of Anthropic shares by Perella Weinberg is also noteworthy, as it could provide much-needed funds to FTX’s struggling banks. However, it remains to be seen whether the sale will go ahead and if it will provide the necessary funds to bail out FTX’s customers.