San Francisco– Indian-origin Nishad Singh, former director of engineering at collapsed crypto exchange FTX, has testified that he was “blindsided, horrified and felt really betrayed”, when asked about how he felt about discovering the hole in the balance sheet of the beleaguered company run by Sam Bankman-Fried.
Singh, who came to know about the massive fraud at FTX in September 2022, said he has “always been intimidated by Sam” who was a “formidable character, brilliant”.
Singh, who has already pleaded guilty, testified as the third week of Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial began in the US on Monday.
As Singh testified, “Barbara Fried, the defendant’s mother, appeared incredulous” in the courtroom, reports The Verge.
“As Singh told the story of the conversation, Fried appeared agitated, occasionally glancing in the direction of her son,” the report mentioned.
“I was blindsided and horrified. I felt really betrayed,” said Singh who has pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy counts.
Singh had briefly been a paper billionaire and he owned “6 or 7” per cent of FTX. He received a salary of $200,000, and equity in FTX in lieu of bonuses from 2020 on.
“He was also a long-time friend of Bankman-Fried’s younger brother, Gabe, and had known the defendant since high school,” the report said.
Singh said his co-conspirators in committing these crimes were FTX executives Ryan Salame and Gary Wong, Bankman-Fried, and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison.
All of them have pleaded guilty, except Bankman-Fried.
Singh also testified that he signed blank checks from another bank account, at Gabe Bankman-Fried’s request. That account was used by Gabe to make donations for “Guarding Against Pandemics”, his advocacy group.
When November came, and the FTX collapse began, Singh said he was “suicidal”.
At one point, he asked Bankman-Fried to clarify that the FTX CEO had orchestrated the entire thing.
That didn’t happen. “I had a lot of admiration and respect for him, but over time that eroded”, Singh told the court. (IANS)