Prosecutors plan to call FTX customers to testify in trial

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Prosecutors plan to call FTX customers to testify in trial

As the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried progresses, Department of Justice prosecutors are adding to their list of witnesses who plan to testify against the FTX founder. In their latest court filing, prosecutors said Friday they plan to call FTX customers to the stand to detail how the exchange's collapse cost them millions of dollars.

In November, FTX, once one of the world's largest crypto exchanges, declared bankruptcy shortly after it was revealed that the firm didn't back user deposits one to one and instead used customer money to cover up shortfalls at its associated trading firm, Alameda Research. The fallout resulted in a series of criminal charges against Bankman-Fried and his circle of insiders, and nearly $9 billion owed to FTX customers.

The DOJ has been trying to Flip FTX's former CEO, who was sacked after the exchange collapsed. Three of bankman-Fried's top deputies agreed to cooperate with prosecutors-former Alameda CEO and one-time girlfriend Caroline Ellison, along with ex-engineering chief Nishad Singh and CTO Gary Wang. A fourth, former FTX co-president, Ryan Salame, pleaded guilty to the charges, but said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

While Bankman-Fried's defence team and prosecutors have been sparring over which expert witnesses will be allowed to testify, the latest court filing outlines additional witnesses the DOJ is planning to call.

The first group is led by retail customers, who prosecutors say lost tens of thousands of dollars on the failed exchange, and institutional customers, who prosecutors say lost millions.

In a separate filing, the prosecutors said one of the customers is a young male in Ukraine who lost a substantial portion of his life savings, which he transferred to the exchange after Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Prosecutors asked that he be allowed to testify anonymously, as he is not legally allowed to leave the country. Prosecutors said they are planning to call witnesses who entered guilty pleas-likely Ellison, Singh, and Wang. Additionally, it will call witnesses who will testify 'pursuant to grants of immunity' - a key bucket of individuals associated with FTX who have yet to be revealed.

The trial is due to begin Tuesday with jury selection.