Marc-Antoine Julliard, a London cocoa bean trader who lost $100,000 on bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, was the first witness to testify against the exchange’s founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) at the start of his trial.
According to CNBC a reportJuilliard chose FTX in 2021 when he decided to diversify into cryptocurrency trading and remained a non-aggressive trader until the platform collapsed in November 2022.
The prosecution’s first witness
During his testimony, Julliard said he felt “very anxious” the day he tried to withdraw part of the $100,000 worth of cryptocurrencies he had stored at FTX but failed, only to be left in limbo along with thousands of other customers when the company filed for bankruptcy. He revealed that he had never participated in any lending, borrowing or margin trading programs offered by FTX, which allowed users to collect interest on their assets.
The commodities broker said it believes strong finances support FTX, and like other clients, it was drawn to the company by its advertising and heavy media coverage. Juilliard explained that his decision to commit to FTX was supported by the company’s association with investment funds and celebrities, including supermodel Gisele Bündchen and international motor racing brand Formula 1.
Juilliard helped the prosecution team explain their opening statement, which explained to the jury that FTX customers were led to believe their assets were safe on the platform while SBF and his co-conspirators embezzled the funds.
Defense attorney says SBF did not defraud anyone
Adam Yedediah, who had befriended SBF at MIT, was the prosecution’s second witness. He first worked as a trader at FTX’s sister trading firm, Alameda Research, in 2017 for two months, after which he took on a software engineer role at FTX in January 2021.
Yedidia said he left the exchange after a fellow developer revealed a day before it filed for bankruptcy that Alameda had used FTX customer deposits to pay off creditors.
Although he has not seen or spoken to the SBF since November, Yedediah revealed that he appeared in court because he was concerned that he may have inadvertently written code that contributed to the crime as a developer. The prosecution will continue its questioning during the trial on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Mark Cohen, SBF’s lawyer, claims that his client did not defraud anyone and is trying to hold customers accountable for their choices to buy and hold cryptocurrencies.
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