Judge Sets Date for Former Celsius CEO’s Trial
- Former Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky will face trial for allegedly defrauding the company’s investors.
- Mashinsky secured a $40 million bail but faces travel and financial restrictions.
- The trial for Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried began on Tuesday with jury selection in a Manhattan court.
As the criminal trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried commences, a New York court has announced the date for another high-profile case involving a crypto executive. Judge John Koeltl announced in a hearing in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on Tuesday that the criminal trial for former Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky will start on September 17, 2024.
The announcement noted that three pretrial conferences will take place in March, July, and September. Mashinsky will remain unconstrained by a $40 million bail during the court proceedings. This is despite very significant restrictions on his ability to travel and some financial transactions.
Mashinsky was arrested in July for allegedly defrauding investors of billions of dollars, and Tuesday’s news marked one of the new developments in his case. In their Tuesday testimony before the judge, Mashinsky’s defense attorneys noted that one of their arguments would be that cryptocurrencies are not securities, a point of legal debate in the United States.
Mashinsky’s defense could find it difficult to defend their client if Roni Cohen-Pavon, the former chief revenue officer of Celsius, testifies against him as reported. Cohen-Pavon entered a plea in September for four criminal offenses. He remains free on bail until his hearing in December.
Celsius Network was one of the many crypto companies that declared bankruptcy in 2022. Mashinsky resigned as the company’s CEO in September 2022, months after Celsius filed for bankruptcy. However, several US regulators, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, all announced cases against Mashinsky.
Elsewhere, the trial for former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried resumed on Tuesday, October 3. Jury selection for the case got underway in a federal court in Manhattan. Bankman-Fried’s trial will no doubt attract massive media coverage owing to his status within and outside the crypto world.
The 31-year-old mingled with some of the higher powers in Washington at the height of his fame and secured the services of Hollywood’s biggest name to represent his company, FTX. However, FTX suffered a dramatic collapse in late 2022. The company, which was once valued at $32 billion, filed for bankruptcy on November 11, 2022. Bankman-Fried was later charged with multiple counts of fraud in relation to the collapse.
Lewis Kaplan, a veteran federal judge, will preside over the proceedings, and the trial is anticipated to last roughly six weeks. Interestingly, several former FTX executives are all expected to testify against Bankman-Fried at the trial, including Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend, Caroline Ellison.