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 a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.