US Senators Demand Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX Execs Be Held Accountable to 'Fullest Extent of the Law’

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a Wednesday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland they want Sam Bankman-Fried and others investigated.

AccessTimeIconNov 23, 2022 at 4:42 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 23, 2022 at 7:13 p.m. UTC

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

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.”

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Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.