FTX’s director of engineering Nishad Singh testified that he was “late in the game” in finding out about the exchange’s misuse of customer funds during the criminal trial of FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried. However, that didn’t stop him from purchasing a US$3.7 million vacation home.
Singh purchased the 10-acre estate on Orcas Island in Washington State in October last year. That was weeks after he claims he first learned about the US$13 billion in customer funds missing from the exchange and just weeks before the collapse of the exchange.
The purchase was made possible thanks to a loan from FTX, which was wired to him in mid-to-late October 2022, Bloomberg reported. Yesterday, Singh testified that after learning about the misuse of customer funds in September he had urged Bankman-Fried to cut his spending, particularly on endorsement deals. He called Bankman-Fried’s spending “excessive” and “flashy.”
“I was upset at the endorsement deals, it was a billion dollars. I said this is crazy, cut this,” Singh told the jury.
The details of Singh’s home purchase were revealed in the defense’s cross examination, according to a live blog of the trial from court reporting organization Inner City Press. Singh is a key witness for the government and has been cooperating with them after pleading guilty to criminal charges including fraud and political campaign violations in relation to the collapse of FTX. Singh forfeited the home as part of the plea agreement.
So far, the defense have struggled to poke holes in the prosecution’s case against Bankman-Fried but managed to see some success with Singh whose memory remained hazy throughout questioning. He struggled to recall details on a range of matters, from what was said in court yesterday, to a meeting with prosecutors that took place in January.
“Did you expect FTX to last as a business?” asked Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer. “I don’t recall what I expected,” Singh said.
After Singh’s cross-examination, the prosecution called FBI agent Richard Busick to the stand.
When asked about scheduling by the judge, the prosecution said they might run out of witnesses before the end of the day on Thursday. The court will take a recess for six days in which the prosecution expects to close on the Thursday that court returns.
“If we put on a case, a week and a half max,” said Cohen on the defense’s scheduling plans. The defense is still weighing up whether to have Bankman-Fried testify.