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‘I didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone,’ FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried says


The man at the center of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX made his first public appearance since the story began, telling a New York audience on Wednesday that he never had. fraudulent intent.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of FTX, appeared at New York Times Dealbook Summit on Wednesday, for an interview with journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin about what happened to his cryptocurrency company fall into bankruptcy in the first day of this month.

The company, once worth more than $32 billion, was granted bankruptcy protection on November 11 after a reeling streak of days that saw it try to resolve a liquidity crunch by merged with a rivalcaused that deal to fall apart and succumb to bank withdrawals as traders withdrew $6 billion in funds within three days.

Records show the company owes various creditors nearly $10 billion, and at least $1 billion in customer deposits is missing.

Among the numerous allegations, customer deposits at FTX appear to have been used as capital and collateral for loans to an investment firm called Alameda affiliated with him — an allegation. could be considered fraudulent and to which he strongly objected.

‘Really sorry’

“I’ve never tried to scam anyone,” he told Sorkin, “I didn’t mean to pool money.”

Despite admitting mistakes, Bankman-Fried dismissed repeated attempts to portray what happened at his crypto company as malicious or illegal in any way. .

“I’m extremely sorry for what happened,” he said. “I was excited about the prospect of FTX a month ago, I consider it a growing and thriving business.”

Bankman-Fried saw his personal net worth evaporate during the crisis, from more than $26 billion a year ago to “almost nothing” today – and he pressed strong that I don’t have any money gone.

“I don’t have any hidden money here. Everything I have, I reveal,” he said.

“I only have one active credit card… [and] hundreds of dollars or something like that, in a bank account.”

VIEW | The old regulator weighs in on the failure of FTX:

Former CEO weighs in on the collapse of FTX

Charley Cooper, a former chief executive officer of commodity regulator CFTC, said the collapse of FTX was a good lesson in the inherent dangers of the crypto space.

He said, to his knowledge, there is enough money at FTX to give users their money. But his hands are tied because he no longer holds an official role at the company since it entered bankruptcy proceedings.

“I believe withdrawals can be opened today and everyone can be recovered,” he said.

Bankman-Fried has been active on Twitter since the incident began, but his appearance on Wednesday marks his first public appearance since the story began.

There was speculation that he would appear in person, but he ended up appearing via video link from the Bahamas, where he lives.

Legal issues

Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried if he did not appear in person because he was worried about being targeted by US agencies including the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission, both of which are investigating. what happened at FTX.

Bankman-Fried appears to have ignored that question, commenting instead that, to his knowledge, he could still legally enter the United States.

“I’ve seen a lot of hearings going on [and] Wouldn’t be surprised if at some point I was out there talking about what happened,” he said, adding that he “didn’t think personally” that he had to worry about any criminal liability. any.

With that said, he said his legal team is “very unsupported” of his decision to appear at the summit and speak publicly about what happened at FTX. He joked that his lawyer’s advice was to “get in a hole”.

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