Sam Bankman-Fried began his fraud trial with a dramatically slimmed down look – after previously complaining that he wasn’t getting enough to eat from prison officials as he stuck to his strict vegan diet.
The alleged cryptocurrency fraudster, 31, was in Manhattan court Tuesday to face a jury for the first time, where he stands accused of embezzling funds from FTX customers and funneling them to his hedge fund Alameda Research.
The 31-year-old had shed his famously long locks and wore a slim fitting suit with a yellow tie for his court appearance.
His alleged $8 billion scheme has been branded ‘one of the biggest financial frauds in American history’. But his preparations for trial were upended, his lawyers claim, after he was sent behind bars on August 11 when his record $250 million bail was revoked.
Bankman-Fried’s attorneys claimed last month that he was being fed a ‘flesh diet’ and forced to subsist on bread, water and peanut butter – which his lawyers slammed as ‘outrageous’.
Sam Bankman-Fried began his fraud trial with a dramatically slimmed down look
In court sketches, the results of his strict vegan diet – which his lawyers claimed led him not to receive enough food behind bars – could be seen
Bankman-Fried, 31, stands accused of embezzling funds from FTX customers and funneling them to his hedge fund Alameda Research
After the former billionaire was sent behind bars to await trial on August 11 (pictured in court that day), his lawyers claimed he was fed a ‘flesh diet’ and forced to subsist on bread, water and peanut butter
Ahead of his trial, which could see him sentenced to up to 115 years in prison, Bankman-Fried trimmed his unkempt hairstyle which became a key part of his image before FTX collapsed.
It is unclear where Bankman-Fried got the haircut but inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where he is being held, are given access to a barber.
At the same time they complained about his prison diet, Bankman-Fried’s legal team also alleged that he was unable to prepare for his trial due to the conditions inside Brooklyn’s notorious Metropolitan Detention Center.
They alleged that he didn’t have access to computers or his medication.
By the end of the court’s proceedings Tuesday, jury selection was nearly finished, paving the way for opening statements to begin Wednesday morning once the final 18 members of the panel were chosen.
The former financial wunderkind has seen a catastrophic fall from grace after launching his cryptocurrency exchange FTX in 2019, which grew into a platform worth tens of billions of dollars within years.
He lived lavishly and made a series of extravagant purchases – including lucrative political donations – while recruiting A-list celebrities such as Tom Brady and Larry David to promote his status.
But when the company suffered a disastrous collapse in November 2022, his customers were left without around $10 billion, prosecutors claim.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk