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Here are the next biggest crypto court cases with the SBF saga over

Validated Media

The cryptocurrency “trial of the century” wrapped up a week ago with the 25-year sentencing of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, but there’s plenty of crypto action still to come throug the United States courts.

At the end of this month, Binance co-founder Changpeng “CZ” Zhao will know what jail time, if any, he’ll serve.

Bankman-Fried may also appeal his sentence at some point, which his lawyers said was in the works since he was found guilty last November. His 25-year sentence on March 28 now allows that to happen.

Here are some of the other cases where crypto and its key executives will face U.S. courts:

Former Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao

Ex-Binance boss Zhao pled guilty to money laundering last year alongside Binance.US and Binance’s $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. on charges including operating an illegal exchange and having an ineffective Anti-Money Laundering program.

He’s facing up to 18 months behind bars at his April 30 sentencing date in a Seattle federal court, but prosecutors have made it clear they could argue up to a maximum of 10 years.

Zhao’s bond conditions leave him stuck in the U.S. as the government is worried he won’t come back if he goes home to his family in the United Arab Emirates — something he’s repeatedly asked the court if he can do.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is still chasing charges against Binance, its U.S. arm and Zhao, alleging they sold unregistered securities and commingled customer assets.

FTX execs and more court for SBF

FTX co-founder Zixiao “Gary” Wang, engineering lead Nishad Singh and Alameda Research ex-CEO Caroline Ellison will be sentenced in New York at some point for their roles in the massive fraud carried out at the exchange.

Wang, Singh and Ellison are respectively facing up to 50, 75 and 110 years in prison, but their jail time may not be as much as their former boss since they made deals to plead guilty and provide evidence against him for a reduced sentence.

  Source: Tiffany Fong

FTX Digital Markets’ former co-CEO Ryan Salame — who didn’t testify against Bankman-Fried but did take a plea deal — will be sentenced on May 1 after he admitted to making unlawful political contributions and conspiring to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.

With Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial over, paused lawsuits from the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission charging him with securities and commodity law violations are set to also resume soon.

Terraform Labs' Do Kwon

In March last year, the U.S. lumped Terraform co-founder Do Kwon with a string of fraud and market manipulation charges after his crypto ecosystem tied to an algorithm-backed stablecoin ended up not being very stable.

The U.S. has tussled with Kwon’s native South Korea to extradite him from Montenegro. Kwon won an appeal to stop his extradition to the U.S., and he’s free in Montenegro while its Supreme Court deliberates on U.S. and South Korea’s extradition requests.

The SEC has a suit against Kwon for allegedly selling unregistered securities in a New York federal court, and that’s gone to trial even though he’s not there.

“Highly profitable trading” strategist Avi Eisenberg

Avraham “Avi” Eisenberg, the $117 million alleged exploiter of DeFi protocol Mango Markets exploiter who said it was just “a highly profitable trading strategy,” will face a trial for commodities fraud, manipulation and wire fraud charges on April 8.

Eisenberg has claimed everything he did was legal and permitted on Mango Markets’ smart contract.

  Source: Avaraham Eisenberg

The CFTC and SEC have sued him on market manipulation and anti-fraud charges, but they’re on pause until the criminal trial wraps up.

Tornado Cash devs Roman Storm and Semenov

Crypto mixer Tornado Cash developer Roman Storm’s trial is set for September on charges he conspired to commit money laundering, operated an unlicensed money transmitting business and violated the International Economic Emergency Powers Act.

The charges carry a combined maximum sentence of 45 years, and Storm has pleaded not guilty and asked they be dismissed as he said there was little he could do to stop U.S.-sanctioned entities using the tool.

His co-developer, Roman Semenov, is at large and is believed to be in Russia.

Celsius founder and former CEO Alex Mashinsky

Bankrupt crypto lender Celsius founder Alex Mashinsky has his criminal trial set for Sept. 17 on seven charges relating to various fraud and market manipulation, totaling a maximum sentence of 115 years.

Mashinsky’s seven charges. Source: Department of Justice

He’s pleaded not guilty and asked for two of the charges to be dismissed and that information about Celsius’ bankruptcy not be included in the case.

Mashinsky faces SEC and CFTC lawsuits too — paused for his criminal case — which claims he sold unregistered securities and operated an unregistered commodity pool.

SafeMoon boss Karony

U.S. prosecutors pinned SafeMoon CEO Braden John Karony on securities, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy in November — charges carrying a maximum of 45 years in jail.

He’s pleaded not guilty, is out on bail and has struggled to pay for legal services.

SafeMoon creator Kyle Nagy and chief technology officer Thomas Smith were also charged alongside Karony. Nagy remains at alrge and Smith is angling for a plea deal.

After their criminal trial, Karony, Smith and Nagy will face an SEC lawsuit for unregistered securities sales and misappropriating funds.

KuCoin and co.

Last month, the U.S. charged the crypto exchange KuCoin and founders Chun “Michael” Gan and Ke “Eric” Tang for failing to keep an anti-money laundering program and conspiring to run an unlicensed money transmitting business.

Gan and Tang — both Chinese nationals — each face a maximum of a decade in prison, but both are at large.

The CFTC has also sued KuCoin for “multiple violations of the Commodity Exchange Act.”

SEC vs. (almost) everyone

Besides the SEC lawsuits already mentioned, the agency is suing no less than eight other crypto firms — pinning most on the allegation they sold unregistered securities and operated unlicensed.

CoinbaseKrakenTronand Gemini are facing the regulator in court — all pinned for selling unregistered securities, among other charges, and all are fighting the SEC’s allegations.

Ripple is also still in its yearslong court biff with the regulator, though that will soon come to an end.

The SEC also sued the claimed crypto mining and development firm Green United for the same reason, which the mining firm has asked to be dismissed.


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