FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried appeals conviction and 25-year sentence for fraud

Bankman-Fried faces steep odds in bid to overturn conviction stemming from the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was last month sentenced to 25 years in prison on fraud and conspiracy charges [John Minchillo/AP]

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has appealed his conviction and 25-year prison sentence for stealing billions of dollars from customers of his defunct cryptocurrency exchange.

Bankman-Fried was convicted in November on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in what US authorities described as one of the biggest financial frauds in US history.

The 32-year-old former billionaire was the poster boy for cryptocurrency,  gracing magazine covers and enjoying audiences with lawmakers, before the speculator collapse of FTX in 2022 amid a deluge of customer withdrawals.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyer Marc Mukasey had announced his intention to appeal the verdict and sentence during his sentencing hearing on March 28.

During his sentencing, Bankman-Fried expressed regret over his handling of FTX, saying he was “sorry about what happened at every stage”.

“It haunts me every day,” he said. “I made a series of bad decisions.”

US District Court Judge Lewis Kaplan said that Bankman-Fried had not shown genuine remorse or fully accepted responsibility and there was a “risk that this man will be in position to do something very bad in the future”.

Prosecutors had asked for a prison sentence of 40-50 years, while Bankman-Fried’s lawyers had requested the judge to impose a six-year term.

Bankman-Fried’s appeal could take years and would need to convince a higher court that Kaplan had made significant errors during the trial that infringed on his legal rights.

US federal courts rarely side with criminal defendants attempting to overturn lower court decisions, granting fewer than 10 percent of appeals.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies