The trial of former Amazon CEO and FTX founder and ex-CEO begins

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The trial of former Amazon CEO and FTX founder and ex-CEO begins

The criminal trial of FTX founder and ex-CEO Sam Bankman-Fried began Tuesday, in a case that will determine his fate as he faces seven federal charges of fraud and conspiracy in connection with the collapse of his crypto empire.

What you will know after the trial starts, as it happens.

In November of last year, FTX, along with sister hedge fund Alameda Research and other related companies, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy, resulting in a surge of withdrawals following reports that the exchange had merged assets with Alameda.

Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of Amazon as a result of the collapse, causing billions of dollars to be lost. He was replaced by John Ray III, who is best known for handling the bankruptcy of Enron and is now tasked with clawing back as many assets as possible for FTX's creditors.

Bankman-Fried was arrested first in the Bahamas, where FTX International was based, before being extradited to the United States in December. Bankman-Fried has faced federal charges in Manhattan, including stealing billions of dollars from investors and lenders and stealing billions of dollars in customer funds to buy real estate, make political contributions and make up for losses at Alameda.

Bankman-Fried was released on $250 million bail and remained in California home of his parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, before U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan revoked his bond in August after prosecutors said the former CEO tried to tamper with at least one witness.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, but members of his inner circle - four former employees of FTX and Alameda - have all pleaded guilty to crimes connected to the company's downfalls and are expected to testify against him in the trial after agreeing to cooperate with the government.

Bankman-Fried's key witness is former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, who is his ex-girlfriend and served as his top deputy. In December, Bankman-Fried admitted wire fraud and conspiracy, and prosecutors say Bankman-Fried tried to intimidate her by releasing some of her writings to a journalist.

Ryan Salame, the co-CEO of FTX International, is another potential witness who could be called to testify. In a statement, authorities in the Bahamas said Salame alerted them to possible wrongdoing at the exchange. Salame was convicted of conspiracy to make illegal political donations and admitted to making political donations to Republicans at Bankman-Fried's behest.

Bankman-Fried acknowledges that FTX had inadequate risk management, but says it did not steal funds.

In January, the former CEO published what he called a report on what happened with his firms, blaming the implosion of FTX International on a combination of market crashes, mismanagement at Alameda and sabotage by Changpeng 'CZ' Zhao, the head of FTX rival Binance.

The jury selection is expected to begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday. ET on Tuesday, and depending on how long the process takes, the court may proceed to open arguments the same day.