Friday Briefing: Sam Bankman-Fried gets 25 years

Plus, three video game adventures for the weekend.
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Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition

March 29, 2024

Good morning. We’re covering the sentencing of Sam Bankman-Fried and the grim conditions facing migrant children at the U.S. border.

Plus, three video game adventures for the weekend.

Sam Bankman-Fried, wearing a blue suit, is flanked by several people as he leaves court in New York City.
Sam Bankman-Fried will be sent to a low- or medium-security prison. Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Sam Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison

Sam Bankman-Fried, who was convicted of stealing $8 billion from customers of his FTX cryptocurrency exchange, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. It was a significantly lighter sentence than the maximum penalty of 110 years that his charges carried, but was well above the six and a half years sought by his defense lawyers. Bankman-Fried was also ordered to forfeit $11.2 billion in assets.

The sentencing signified the finale of a sweeping fraud case that exposed greed and risk-taking across the loosely regulated world of cryptocurrencies. In November 2022, FTX imploded virtually overnight, erasing $8 billion in customer savings. At a trial last fall, Bankman-Fried was convicted of seven counts of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.

His sentence ranks as one of the longest imposed on a white-collar defendant in recent years. Bankman-Fried has vowed to appeal his conviction. But in his remarks after receiving his sentence in New York City yesterday, he appeared to accept that he would be in prison for some time.

“At the end of the day, my useful life is probably over now,” he said.

Masked, heavily armed security personnel standing on a large road at night.
Security forces on the street after the attack on a concert hall outside Moscow. Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

Why Russia failed to prevent the Moscow attack

In the days before the attack on a concert hall near Moscow that left at least 143 dead, Russia received warning from the U.S., but its security service failed to intervene.

U.S. and European officials, security experts and analysts said the security failure resulted from a combination of factors. Among them was that Russia’s counterterrorism efforts have become spread too thin. Where once the antiterror branch of the country’s Federal Security Service chased extremists, it now targets political adversaries of President Vladimir Putin as well as other Kremlin critics, L.G.B.T.Q. rights activists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

A grim milestone: Today is the first anniversary of the arrest in Russia of Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal. His detention on spying charges was just extended by three months.

Valerie Hopkins, who covers Russia for The Times, told us that Putin is practicing “transactional diplomacy,” adding that, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, Putin “made it very clear that he wants to trade Evan specifically for Vadim Krasikov, an assassin linked to the security services.”

A group of adults and children lying or sitting on the ground inside a tent.
Migrants from Ecuador and El Salvador at the U.S. border.  Ariana Drehsler for The New York Times

Health risks rise for children at the U.S. border

The capacity at U.S. immigration processing centers is strained, and migrants, including unaccompanied children, are waiting for hours — sometimes days — in outdoor holding areas. These sites offer no shelter, meals or medical care, and the lack of basic infrastructure has set off public health concerns for the most vulnerable.

A judge in California could rule as early as today on whether the U.S. is legally required to shelter and feed the children as they wait. Our reporter Emily Baumgaertner visited five migrant camps along the U.S.-Mexico border in California and wrote about the conditions.

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War in Gaza

Culture

  • Crafts: Lyndon Barrois uses gum wrappers to create detailed portraits of historical figures and athletes in flight.

MORNING READ

A man with graying hair and a bushy mustache cranks a large iron wheel as he stands on a platform in the middle of a river’s lock system.
A worker cranks open a dam, allowing fish to reach shallower water where they can spawn. via Mark van Heukelum

A livestream in the Netherlands was set up to help river fish migrate. Anybody who sees a fish on the feed can press a button — a doorbell, if you will — that alerts a worker. The worker will then crank open a dam so the fish can get into shallower water where it can spawn. Devotees are welcoming the distraction, and the chance to help a fish get frisky.

Lives lived: Joseph Lieberman was a four-term senator who was Al Gore’s running mate in the 2000 presidential election. He died at 82.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

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ARTS AND IDEAS

In a video game screenshot, a man with a weapon on his back and a ghostly female apparition hold hands between their chests.
Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden from the French developer Don’t Nod. Don't Nod

Videogame adventures for your heartstrings

For your gaming pleasure this weekend, we bring you a slate of video game recommendations that will fill you with emotion.

  • In Open Roads, a single mother and her spirited teenage daughter go on a road trip after the death of a loved one. This five-hour interactive drama with humorous touches is cuts above a Lifetime movie.
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake stars siblings who have just lost their mother. They must work closely together to make a dangerous journey to find a cure for their ailing father. The remake tells the same crushingly startling story as the original.
  • In Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden, two ghost hunters must do their dangerous work while navigating moral choices regarding life and death. Its sturdy, plaintive narrative is sometimes reminiscent of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s romanticism.

Our writer said the narrative effects in these games may even make you tear up a little. But you’ll feel good about it.

RECOMMENDATIONS

A plate of stir-fried glass noodles with mushrooms, spinach and sesame seeds.
Sheet Pan Japchae. Johnny Miller for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich.

Cook: In this sheet-pan japchae, all of the vegetables roast together for ease and deliciousness.

Watch: “DogMan” is an oddly wonderful tale of resilience and revenge.

Read: Our columnist reviews four new horror books spiked with dread and profound unease.

Listen: Serial’s new podcast explores life on both sides of the wall at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Create: Working with your hands — whether writing, gardening or knitting — can help your cognition and mood.

Play Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today. See you on Monday. — Justin

Daniel Slotnik contributed to this newsletter.

We welcome your feedback. Send us your suggestions at briefing@nytimes.com.

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