Ex FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried Defies Lawyers Advice: ‘I Have to Talk’
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Disgraced crypto darling Sam Bankman-Fried made his first appearance since the collapse of his billion-dollar empire, choosing to speak on FTX’s meltdown despite lawyers’ advice to keep quiet.
“It’s not who I am. I have a duty to talk and explain what happened. To do what’s right,” he said at the New York Times Dealbook Summit on Wednesday afternoon.
In a video interview from the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried, known for his incessant tweeting asked journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, “What good is it if I stay quiet?”
At times Bankman-Fried fidgeted during the interview as he pondered whether or not he could be held liable for the purported mishandling of customer funds.
“There’s a time and a place for me to think about myself and my own future. I don’t think this is it,” he said.
“Customers and stake holders matter most.”
The 30-year-old, who is no longer the CEO of the exchange since filing bankruptcy, said he believes customers can still recoup millions of dollars lost in the collapse.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but I want to be helpful to regulators wherever I can. I can’t promise anyone anything. I think there’s a chance customers will be made a lot more whole if there’s more effort.”
Bankman said he too has lost all of his investments in FTX and only has approximately $100,000 left on his bank account. “I don’t have hidden funds…I put everything in FTX.”
He rejected the notion that he committed fraud. “I did not try to commit fraud on anyone.”
FTX, once valued at 32 billion dollars was a giant in the crypto market and was headquartered in the Bahamas. Its new CEO is now John Ray III who is at odds with Bankman-Fried and revealed the corporate failings and his use of funds for personal needs like purchasing lux properties in the Bahamas.
“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” Ray said in a court filing.
After the downfall of the third biggest crypto exchange, he tweeted, “I f-ked up.”
“I screwed. I was the CEO. We messed up,” he told Sorkin again.
Bankman-Fried will make an appearance on Capitol Hill later in the month, to answer questions on the billions of dollars lost in the disaster.
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