Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of the failed crypto exchange FTX, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding customers and investors of his now-bankrupt firm.

The ruling cements the downfall of the former billionaire, who emerged as a high-profile champion of crypto before his firm’s dramatic collapse in 2022.

He was found to have stolen billions from customers ahead of the failure.

Bankman-Fried’s legal team will appeal against his conviction.

A message from his parents shared with Newsmen by a representative for Bankman-Fried said they are heartbroken and will continue to fight for their son.

FTX was one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges before its demise, turning Bankman-Fried into a business celebrity and attracting millions of customers who used the platform to buy and trade cryptocurrency.

He was convicted by a New York jury last year on charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, after a trial that detailed how he had taken more than $8bn from customers, and used the money to buy property, make political donations and put toward other investments.

Before reading the sentence on Thursday, Judge Lewis Kaplan provided a harsh assessment of Bankman-Fried’s behaviour, saying he had lied during his testimony at trial when he claimed he was unaware until the last minute that his companies were taking money entrusted to them for safe-keeping by customers and using it for other purposes.

The government has already seized some of those assets, such as shares Bankman-Fried owned in Robinhood, the trading app which raised more than $600m when they were sold last year.

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