Nishad Singh, a co-founder of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has pleaded guilty to US federal fraud and conspiracy charges. Singh, who was FTX's director of engineering, is the third member of Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle to agree to cooperate with prosecutors in the case against him. Former executives Caroline Ellison and Zixiao "Gary" Wang previously pleaded guilty to fraud charges.
Singh pleaded guilty to six criminal counts, including wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the US by violating campaign finance laws. He agreed to forfeit the proceeds of his actions, as Reuters reports. Bankruptcy filings showed that Singh received a $543 million loan from Alameda.
Singh admitted to making illegal donations to political candidates and PACs under his name using funds from Alameda Research (FTX's sibling hedge fund and crypto trading firm). He claimed the donations were intended to bolster the political influence of FTX and Bankman-Fried (aka SBF), according to The Wall Street Journal. Singh added that he agreed with the stances of those he donated to but didn't pick the candidates. Per OpenSecrets, he contributed $8 million to Democratic PACs and campaigns during the 2022 election cycle.
Moreover, Singh said he found out in mid-2022 that Alameda was borrowing billions of dollars in customer funds from FTX. It emerged by September that Alameda wasn't able to repay those funds. Singh additionally claimed that he falsified FTX’s revenues at SBF's behest to make the company more palatable to investors.
SBF now faces 12 criminal charges after an indictment detailing four additional ones was unsealed last week. Among other things, he has been accused of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer funds and misleading investors and lenders. Notably, in light of Singh's plea, the charges include alleged violations of federal campaign finance laws by donating to a super PAC under the names of two executives. SBF, who was arrested and extradited from the Bahamas in December, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is set for October.
On the same day Singh made his guilty plea, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission filed civil complaints against him. The agencies said Singh is cooperating with the SEC's ongoing investigation and that he agreed to settle with the CFTC.