FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried to testify before Congress next week

Founder and former CEO says he could talk about what he thinks led to crash and ‘my own failings’

Sam Bankman-Fried is set to testify before Congress next week about the collapse of FTX, as regulators investigate the cryptocurrency exchange he led until its recent demise.

The US House committee on financial services said in a statement on Friday that the panel would hear from FTX’s newly appointed CEO, John Ray, and from Bankman-Fried on 13 December.

Bankman had indicated earlier in the day that he was willing to testify to Congress about the company’s implosion under his leadership. The FTX founder and former chief executive, who stepped down when it filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 11 November, tweeted that he would give evidence to the House financial services committee on Tuesday.

Bankman-Fried said he “won’t be as helpful as I’d like” because he did not have access to “much of my data”.

His offer came in response to tweets from Maxine Waters, the committee chair, who said it was clear he had information “sufficient for testimony”. Waters said this week she was prepared to subpoena Bankman-Fried if he did not agree to appear before the committee this month.

The hybrid hearing was scheduled for 10am ET (1500 GMT) on Tuesday, the committee said.

1) I still do not have access to much of my data -- professional or personal. So there is a limit to what I will be able to say, and I won't be as helpful as I'd like.

But as the committee still thinks it would be useful, I am willing to testify on the 13th. https://t.co/KR34BsNaG1

— SBF (@SBF_FTX) December 9, 2022

Bankman-Fried, who has stayed in the Bahamas where his company was headquartered, did not clarify whether he would appear in person or via video link.

He has given a number of media interviews since the FTX collapse, as well as tweeting regularly. He has denied trying to commit fraud and has said his fortune, once estimated at $26bn, has dwindled to $100,000.

FTX failed last month when customers rushed to withdraw their funds because of growing doubts about the financial strength of the company and its affiliated trading arm, Alameda Research.

Bankman-Fried has said he “didn’t knowingly commingle” FTX customer funds with Alameda’s. Since its collapse, FTX’s new management has accused its previous management of a “complete failure of corporate controls”.

In its first bankruptcy filing last month, FTX said it expected to have more than 1 million individual creditors.

On Friday, Bankman-Fried tweeted that he had thought of himself as a “model CEO” who would not become lazy or disconnected, who had then created a “destructive” situation when he did. “I’m sorry,” he tweeted. “Hopefully people can learn from the difference between who I was and who I could have been.”

He listed specific issues he would be able to discuss with the committee, including the solvency of FTX’s US business, its American customers, and possible solutions for returning assets to international clients. He also said he could talk about what he thinks led to the crash and “my own failings”.

The Associated Press contributed reporting


Dan Milmo Global technology editor

The GuardianTramp

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