The prosecution doesn't want to mention Bankman-Fried's Anthropic stake in his legal battle, arguing such evidence would "mislead jury."
As the fraud trial of Sam Bankman-Fried gains momentum, US prosecutors have urged the court to disallow the defense from discussing Bankman-Fried's $500 million investment in AI startup Anthropic. The prosecutors argue that the investment, while substantial, is not relevant to the case's core issues.
In April 2022, Bankman-Fried made a $500 million investment in Anthropic. The startup has recently been in the news for its efforts to secure additional funding, with a projected valuation ranging from $20 to $30 billion.
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Despite the high valuation, the prosecution asserts that the investment should not be part of the discussion in the ongoing trial.
According to court documents, the US government plans to provide evidence that Bankman-Fried misappropriated FTX customer deposits to fund his investment in Anthropic.
Given this context, the prosecution believes that any potential recovery value of the Anthropic stake for FTX customers or other creditors should not influence the jury's decision on the core fraud allegations. A letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan details discussions between the two legal teams on what topics are permissible during cross-examination.
According to the prosecution, introducing such evidence would complicate the issues. As it was put to words, it would result in:
<...> a substantial danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, and waste of time.
It adds that the charges against SBF focus on wire fraud allegations, specifically concerning the misuse of FTX customer funds. Therefore, whether or not the investment in Anthropic turns out to be profitable is "wholly irrelevant" to the charges being considered.
While the prosecution plans to present evidence of Bankman-Fried's alleged misuse of customer funds, leading to substantial losses, it won't introduce any information concerning the ultimate losses suffered by victims in the aftermath of the FTX bankruptcy process, which is estimated to be approximately $8 billion.
The US prosecutors aim to keep the focus of the trial on the core allegations against Sam Bankman-Fried, which include wire fraud and misappropriation of FTX customer deposits. Any discussions related to his significant investment in Anthropic, they argue, would only serve to distract and possibly mislead the jury. The ongoing legal battle continues to hold the attention of the cryptocurrency world, awaiting its outcome.