Maxine Waters Is Prepared To Subpoena, Sam Bankman-Fried Responds

The representative says reports claiming that she is unwilling to do so are “lies,” and bowing to pressure, Bankman-Fried says he will comply


US Rep. Maxine Waters | majunznk/"Maxine Waters" (CC license)


Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, tweeted on Thursday that plans to subpoena fallen crypto celebrity Sam Bankman-Fried to testify at the FTX hearing on Dec. 13 are still very much on the table. 

CNBC first reported that Waters had been trying to convince Bankman-Fried to testify voluntarily and did not have plans to subpoena him, claims Waters denied.

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The representative of California’s 43rd District in Congress previously tweeted at the fallen crypto celebrity, politely inviting him to participate at the hearing. In response, Bankman-Fried said, “Once I have finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain.”

Adding, “I’m not sure that will happen by the 13th. But when it does, I will testify.”

Waters’ gentle approach to Bankman-Fried, was criticized by crypto community members, and many were concerned about his cushy relationship with elected officials through previous campaign donations.

Her subsequent pleas, which took a dig at the former FTX CEO’s recent media tour, were initially left unanswered by Bankman-Fried.

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Under US law, a court can issue a subpoena to a US resident or national in a foreign country if “the court finds that particular testimony or the production of the document or other thing by him is necessary in the interest of justice.”

A subpoena can also be issued if it is not possible to obtain a testimony without the appearance of the witness. Which means in the case of FTX, whether or not a subpoena of Bankman-Fried — who is currently believed to be in the Bahamas — can be issued will also depend on the other witnesses who will be called upon to testify.

But by Friday morning, Bankman-Fried caved, announcing on Twitter that he would participate in the hearing as requested.

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He expressed the intention to limit his testimony to four main areas: FTX US’s solvency and American customers, pathways that could return value to users internationally, the causes of the crash, and his own failings.

Given that the testimony will be under oath, upon penalty of perjury, it will be interesting to see how the ex-CEO handles questions that touch upon his own potential legal liability.

This story was updated on Dec. 9 at 9:08 a.m. ET following Bankman-Fried’s notice of willingness to testify.

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