Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and former chief executive officer of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has hired white-collar crime specialist Mark Cohen to represent him, a Bankman-Fried spokesman told Forkast. The move comes in the face of broadening investigations by U.S. authorities into the collapse of FTX on Nov. 11 and allegations of fraud. 

See related article: Sam Bankman-Fried ‘not sure’ if he will testify before Congress on Dec. 13

Fast facts

  • Mark Cohen, cofounder and managing partner of New York-based law firm Cohen & Gresser, has been hired as Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Mark Botnick, a spokesperson for the former FTX CEO, told Forkast on Wednesday in an email.
  • Cohen is the head of the firm’s Litigation & Arbitration and White Collar Defense & Regulation groups and has successfully defended individuals charged with insider trading, according to the firm’s website.
  • Bankman-Fried made public appearances last week to discuss the collapse of FTX. He said at the time that he was acting against his legal team’s advice to not discuss FTX.
  • Other lawyers not directly involved in the case told Forkast in late November that Bankman-Fried could face more than 20 years in prison depending on the scale of potential legal violations related to the collapse of FTX and if he is convicted.
  • Bankman-Fried also tweeted on Monday morning Hong Kong time that he may not testify before the U.S. Congress on Dec. 13 on what happened at FTX. This was in response to an invite from Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee. 
  • Last week, Bankman-Fried said at the New York Times DealBook Summit that he “didn’t knowingly commingle funds,” in response to allegations that Alameda Research, FTX’s brokerage arm, used customer deposits for trading in cryptocurrencies, in violation of the company’s regulations.

See related article: Sam Bankman-Fried points blame for FTX collapse to Alameda, says he was blindsided