Bankman-Fried Puts Off House Testimony on FTX
The now disgraced founder of FTX has been on a media blitz, but said he would appear before a House committee hearing only after he’s got all his facts straight
FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried | Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel
Former FTX CEO and founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) said Sunday he would be willing to testify before congress, but only once he has “finished learning” about the implosion of his crypto empire.
SBF was asked by chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, Maxine Waters, to attend a hearing on Dec. 13 to explain his side of events.
Appearing before congress would likely ratchet up pressure against the former FTX CEO and increase the spotlight on exactly what occurred over that past month and how the exchange was able to fall apart so quickly.
“We appreciate that you’ve been candid in your discussions about what happened at FTX,” Waters tweeted at Bankman-Fried on Friday. Waters added that his willingness to speak up will help affected stakeholders, including customers whose digital assets remain locked on the platform.
The representative for California’s 43rd congressional district was criticized by some in the crypto community for appearing servile and obsequious. Congressional relationships with Bankman-Fried were often friendly, and his willingness to engage with elected officials has been painted as an attempt to regulate the industry in a manner that would have been friendly to his failed exchange.
Bankman-Fried’s relationships with politicians have been under scrutiny since he made substantial donations to specific members of the Democratic Party. Bankman-Fried claims to have made similar donations to the Republican Party, but to have avoided publicizing them.
In a tweeted response to Waters’ request, Bankman-Fried said he would head to Washington DC only when he was ready, and following a review of events.
The refusal to testify voluntarily comes despite Bankman-Fried’s multiple mainstream media interviews which he used to deflect some of the heat over his role in FTX’s implosion, including with CNBC and ABC News last week.
Both interviews have been criticized for their softball approach to questions over Bankman-Fried’s role in the commingling of customer funds with Alameda — estimated to have blown an $8 billion hole in FTX’s balance sheet.
It’s not known whether this postponement is a result of legal advice SBF has received, or if house members will seek to compel his testimony.
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