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Pressure Mounts on FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried as Former Director of Engineering Pleads Guilty – Here’s What You Need to Know

Ruholamin Haqshanas
Last updated: | 2 min read
Image Source: YouTube / TEDxYouth

Nishad Singh, the former director of engineering at now-defunct crypto exchange FTX, has pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges, agreeing to cooperate with the investigation into FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Singh pleaded guilty to six conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to violate federal campaign finances laws on Tuesday, according to a report by Reuters. 

“I am unbelievably sorry for my role in all of this,” he reportedly said, acknowledging that he was aware that Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, was borrowing FTX customer funds without their knowledge by mid-2022. 

The former FTX executive reportedly traveled back from the Bahamas in the wake of FTX’s collapse in November in part to assist the U.S. investigation. He was released on a $250,000 bond and said he would relinquish all the proceeds from the scheme. Damian Williams, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said:

“Today’s guilty plea underscores once again that the crimes at FTX were vast in scope and consequence. They rocked our financial markets with a multibillion dollar fraud. And they corrupted our politics with tens of millions of dollars in illegal straw campaign contributions.”

Singh is the third member of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle to plead guilty and cooperate with the probe. Prior to this, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison agreed to plead guilty to seven offenses, while Gary Wang, FTX’s former chief technology officer, pleaded guilty to criminal charges. 

“He wants to do everything he can to make things right for victims, including by assisting the government to the best of his ability,” Singh’s lawyers, Andrew Goldstein and Russell Capone said in a statement.

Separately, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, two top US market regulators, announced lawsuits against Singh over his role in the alleged scheme. 

Singh, 27, played a major role in the day-to-day operations at FTX as head of engineering. He initially joined Alameda back in 2017 before establishing FTX two years later with Wang and Bankman-Fried. 

Notably, he is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, where he met his longtime girlfriend, Claire Watanabe, who would later join FTX as its head of marketing and HR.

Meanwhile, the disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with eight criminal charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. He is facing more than 100 years in prison for the crimes he is accused of and is due in federal court in October. 

In the latest developments in the FTX saga, a New York judge has put cases against the former FTX CEO brought by the SEC and the CFTC on hold until the criminal cases against him are concluded.

Furthermore, new court documents have eventually revealed the identities of the two mysterious co-signers on FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s bond, who turned out to be Andreas Paepcke and Larry Kramer, Stanford University professors and close friends of SBF’s parents.