Lawyer Monthly - February 2023

Monthly Round-Up FEBRUARY 2023 Sam Bankman-Fried Pleads Not Guilty in FTX Fraud Case On 3 January, FTX founder Sam BankmanFried pleaded not guilty to the theft of billions of dollars in customer funds entrusted to his cryptocurrency exchange. The plea marked Bankman-Fried’s first court appearance since his release on a record $250 million pretrial bail. countries including Ireland, Denmark and Argentina. On 16 January, Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said that the UK government would block the bill on the basis of its “significant impact” on UK equalities law. To do so it has invoked Section 35 of the 1998 Scotland Act, which enables the UK government to stop a bill from becoming law if it is deemed to have an adverse effect on matters where the national government retains ultimate jurisdiction. This is the first time that the UK government has used this power, a move that Nicola Sturgeon has described as a “full-frontal attack” on the Scottish Parliament. “If this Westminster veto succeeds, it will be the first of many,” she said in a statement on Twitter. was only announced once Bankman-Fried was in transit to the US from the Bahamas after agreeing to voluntary extradition. In media appearances since FTX’s filing for bankruptcy, Bankman-Fried admitted to having made mistakes in his running of the exchange but denied criminal liability. A trial date has been set for 2 October. Following the collapse of the $21 billion cryptocurrency exchange in November 2021, the 30-year-old mogul has been accused of having looted customer funds to prop up his Alameda Research hedge fund. The US Securities and Exchange Commission opened a parallel complaint against Bankman-Fried, alleging that he used FTX customer deposits as a “personal piggy bank” for investments, political donations and real estate purchases. Should he be found guilty of charges of fraud and vioating campaign finance laws, he may face a sentence of up to 115 years in prison. Two of the FTX founder’s senior co-workers, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Alameda CEO Carolyn Ellison, pleaded guilty to criminal and civil charges of fraud and securities violations. News of these pleas In an historic first, the UK government has used its power to veto a Scottish law that will make it easier for transgender people to change their legal gender. The bill, which was passed by the Scottish government in December 2021, removes the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to legally change one’s gender, moving the process to a ‘selfidentification’ model that is intended to be less invasive and stressful for participants. The bill also lowers the minimum age for changing one’s gender from 18 to 16. Scotland is the first UK nation to back self-ID laws, which have also been adopted by other UK Government Blocks Scottish Gender Recognition Bill 6 LAWYERMONTHLY FEBRUARY 2023

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