Two U.S. senators are demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the “disturbing allegations of fraud and illicit behavior that led to the collapse of [FTX]” and hold the company’s executives “to the fullest extent of the law.”
In the letter on Wednesday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) reminded Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite of the DOJ’s recently renewed commitment to prosecuting white-collar criminals. The senators want them to honor that commitment when investigating the behavior of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and other executives “with the utmost scrutiny.”
Warren, a long-time critic of the crypto industry, has closely monitored the collapse of the Bahamas-based FTX, as well as the ripple effects that collapse has had across the wider industry.
On Tuesday, Warren, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) sent a letter to Fidelity, asking the financial services firm to reconsider allowing retail clients to include bitcoin in their retirement plans. Last week, Warren and Durbin wrote to Bankman-Fried and FTX’s current CEO, John Jay Ray III, asking for information about what precipitated the exchange’s collapse.
In addition to the knock-on effect across the wider crypto industry, Warren and Whitehouse’s letter expresses concerns about the impact of FTX’s implosion on retail investors, who they say were given a “false sense of safety and legitimacy” by FTX’s “high-dollar advertisement placements and celebrity endorsements.”
Though the letter urges the DOJ to investigate and prosecute all FTX executives potentially embroiled in the alleged fraud, Bankman-Fried bears the brunt of Warren and Whitehouse’s ire.
“The fall of FTX was not simply a result of sloppy business and management practices, but rather appears to have been caused by intentional and fraudulent tactics employed by Mr. Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives to enrich themselves,” the senators wrote. “In fact, Mr. Bankman-Fried had already revealed his true interests of self-enrichment last year when he siphoned $300 million to his own wallet.”
Read more: The FTX Downfall: Full Coverage
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, institutional digital assets exchange. Bullish group is majority owned by Block.one; both groups have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary, and an editorial committee, chaired by a former editor-in-chief of The Wall Street Journal, is being formed to support journalistic integrity.