Nishad Singh, the former director of engineering for collapsed crypto exchange FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried’s right-hand man, is preparing to reach a plea deal with U.S. prosecutors. This comes as Manhattan prosecutors prepare to file fraud charges against Singh. According to sources familiar with the matter, the former FTX executive is planning to plead guilty to fraud charges for his role in the alleged scheme.
The plea deal is expected to include Singh’s cooperation with authorities. This could further isolate Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty to an eight-count indictment and is awaiting trial. However, the deal with Singh is yet to be finalized.
Singh, who is just 27 years old, played a significant role in the day-to-day operations at FTX as head of engineering. He initially joined Alameda back in 2017 before establishing FTX two years later with Wang and Bankman-Fried.
The collapse of FTX and its group of crypto companies happened when they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early November. Bankman-Fried was later arrested in The Bahamas after US prosecutors formally filed criminal charges against him. After extradition to the US, he was released from jail after posting a $250m bond in a New York court.
Bankman-Fried is facing eight criminal charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy by misusing customer funds. He is accused of crimes that could result in more than 100 years in prison. His trial is set for October in federal court.
Among other executives of FTX and its sister companies, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison has agreed to plead guilty to seven offenses. These include charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. Additionally, Gary Wang, FTX’s former chief technology officer, has already pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Both Ellison and Wang are cooperating with federal investigators.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, two top US market regulators, also plan to sue Singh over his role in the alleged scheme.
Notably, Singh is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, where he met his longtime girlfriend, Claire Watanabe, who would later join FTX as its head of marketing and HR.
In the latest developments in the FTX saga, a New York judge has put cases against the former FTX CEO brought by the SEC and the CFTC on hold until the criminal cases against him are concluded.
Furthermore, new court documents have eventually revealed the identities of the two mysterious co-signers on FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s bond. They turned out to be Andreas Paepcke and Larry Kramer, Stanford University professors and close friends of SBF’s parents.
The unfolding scandal around FTX and its executives has sent shockwaves through the crypto industry. It highlights the need for better regulation and oversight in the sector, as well as the risks involved in investing in unregulated markets.