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Sam Bankman Fried's 25-year prison sentence: Autist or psychopath?

Sam Bankman-Fried, former crypto wunderkind and CEO of FTX has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. While that's a long time, it could have been longer: Federal prosecutors had recommended that SBF be imprisoned for 40 to 50 years and the maximum possible sentence for his crimes of fraud and conspiracy was 110 years.

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U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said today that FTX customers lost about $8bn, that investors lost $1.7bn and that lenders lost $1.3bn. SBF is a menace, suggested the judge: he needs to be "appropriately" disabled for a significant period of time. 

SBF's fans, who are probably not many now beyond his paid defense lawyer, had argued that Bankman-Fried, who was medicated for ADHD, should be treated leniently because of his undiagnosed autism. 

Today, however, 32-year-old Bankman-Fried made a series of statements that might be attributed to autism, or that might be attributed to a self-referential and indulgent view of the world, depending upon your perspective. 

“My useful life is probably over. It’s been over for a while now, from before my arrest,” he declared in a moment of self-pity before his sentence. 

This was followed by nostalgic reminiscences of the good times when he was CEO and he and his staff were building "something really beautiful." 

“All of the company followed me across the earth, across continents, burning the midnight oil working until 2 a.m., 4 a.m., dedicated to FTX,” he declared. “I remember so many of them.”

Bankman Fried's amorality was highlighted last week by prosecutors in the form of a peculiar Google document in which he systematically listed potential and conflicting 'redemption narratives' to rehabilitate himself. They included coming out as a Republican and going against the "woke agenda," despite having spent most of his career publicly supporting the Democrats. 

Speaking in court today, Bankman Fried's lawyer said his client, "doesn’t make decisions with malice in his heart. He makes decisions with math in his head.”

Bankman-Fried will be nearly 60 when he's released from prison. In the circumstances, he might be excused a lapse in personal hygiene, although the fact that he reportedly wiped his nose with the hem of his shirt after making his plea might be taken as another sign that he is a neurological aberration. 

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available (Telegram: @SarahButcher)

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AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor

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