Judge Grills Sam Bankman-Fried About Shared Lawyer with Celsius CEO

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  • Sam Bankman-Fried faces scrutiny over potential conflicts of interest in his legal representation.
  • Prosecutors raised concerns about shared legal counsel with Celsius’ CEO.
  • The issue stemmed from Alameda Research’s role in Celsius’ bankruptcy.

According to a Bloomberg report, the disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) makes a rare appearance in a New York courtroom on Wednesday. The hearing comes amid concerns over potential conflicts of interest surrounding his legal representation.

The report noted that Bankman-Fried would field questions from a federal judge regarding his awareness of possible conflicts arising from his lawyers’ dual representation. 

In particular, SBF lawyers Marc Mukasey and Torrey Young also represent Alex Mashinsky, the former Celsius Network CEO. Mashinsky is facing a separate criminal matter about Celsius’ implosion.

The prosecutors’ concerns stem from potential conflicts related to Alameda Research, a hedge fund associated with SBF’s FTX exchange, which features in the Celsius bankruptcy saga. Specifically, court documents show Alameda was among Celsius’ principal creditors when the company declared bankruptcy in 2022. 

Besides, the prosecutors highlighted Mashinsky’s assertion that Alameda Research contributed to Celsius’ insolvency. Moreover, they expressed concerns over discussions Bankman-Fried held regarding acquiring Celsius and replacing Mashinsky as CEO before the company’s collapse. 

However, U.S. authorities noted that while these issues could potentially lead to conflicts, they deemed them not severe enough to preclude the possibility of waivers.

Also, Bloomberg noted that while defendants are typically free to select their legal representation, judges are responsible for ensuring they understand their right to unbiased counsel.

Meanwhile, Mashinsky announced his willingness on Tuesday to waive any potential conflicts stemming from the shared legal representation of Mukasey and Young. He anticipates that Bankman-Fried’s sentencing will precede his trial. 

Notably, the former Celsius faces charges for allegedly making false and misleading statements about his company’s financial health before its bankruptcy filing.

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