Bankman-Fried ‘would give anything’ to start new business to repay FTX users

Former boss of collapsed crypto-exchange says he has duty to try to recoup investors’ lost money

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former boss of the failed crypto-exchange FTX, has said he hopes to start a new business to help pay back the victims of his old firm’s collapse.

Speaking to the BBC from the Bahamas, he said he would “give anything” to be able to begin a new venture in order to recoup his users’ lost investments.

“I’m going to be thinking about how we can help the world, and if users haven’t gotten much back, I’m going to be thinking about what I can do for them,” Bankman-Fried told the BBC. “And I think at the very least I have a duty to FTX users to do right by them as best as I can.”

When asked whether he would start a new business to pay investors back, he said: “I would give anything to be able to do that. And I’m going to try if I can.”

Bankman-Fried also said he worried while “ruminating at night” about the possibility of being arrested, and again denied committing fraud. However, he added that he was “not nearly as competent as I thought I was”.

FTX, a digital currency agency founded in 2019 where people could trade bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies, collapsed in November when its worth dropped from $16bn (£13bn) to zero.

Bankman-Fried stepped down when the agency filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 11 November.

Bankruptcy lawyers described its collapse as “one of the most abrupt and difficult collapses in the history of corporate America” and accused Bankman-Fried of running the company as “his own personal fiefdom”.

Bankman-Fried is due to testify before Congress next week about the collapse of FTX.

In a statement, the US House committee on financial services said the panel would hear from FTX’s newly appointed chief executive, John Ray III, and from Bankman-Fried on 13 December.

After the collapse, the online bank Starling announced a seven-month suspension of all customer deposits to cryptocurrency exchanges, citing the risk to consumers. The suspension would be reviewed in June 2023, the bank said.

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.


Tobi Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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