Former FTX chief operating officer to testify in fraud trial

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Former FTX chief operating officer to testify in fraud trial

The former FTX chief operating officer, Constance Wang, agreed to serve as a witness for U.S. prosecutors in their case against the crypto exchange's founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, according to Michael Lewis' new book on FTX's collapse.

As Bankman-Fried's criminal trial began in Manhattan on Tuesday, the story of a billionaire investor came to the foreground. FTX filed for bankruptcy in November, after customers yanked billions of dollars from the exchange in just days.

Bankman-Fried is accused of embezzling money from FTX clients to prop up his hedge fund, Alameda Research, buy luxury properties and make more than US$100 million in political donations.

While the US prosecutors have said they plan to call a few of Bankman-Fried's former inner circle to testify, Wang has not been named among them. She was on a list of possible trial witnesses for both the defense and prosecution on Tuesday, although it is uncertain if she will testify or for which side.

A spokeswoman for the US Attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment. Wang, who has not been charged with any crime, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2019 FTX joined from rival Crypto Exchange Huobi as its eighth employee, often accompanied by Bankman-Fried to meetings in which Mandarin was spoken, Lewis said.

Unlike most workers of FTX, who was based in the Bahamas, Wang remained in the Caribbean country after the exchange collapsed last November, according to Lewis, in a bid to investigate what happened. She was also present for Bankman-Fried's arrest on Dec. 12 by Bahamian authorities.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Prosecutors have said they plan to send former Alameda chief executive Caroline Ellison, former FTX technology chief Gary Wang, and former engineering chief Nishad Singh to testify. The three men are pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, including conspiracy to commit fraud.