Senate Committee to Subpoena FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried if He Does Not Testify Voluntarily

The Senate Banking and House Financial Services committees are holding hearings on FTX's collapse next week.

AccessTimeIconDec 8, 2022 at 12:35 a.m. UTC
Updated Dec 8, 2022 at 11:23 p.m. UTC
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The Senate Banking Committee wants Sam Bankman-Fried to appear before it next week in person to discuss the collapse of FTX, and will subpoena him if he does not appear voluntarily, a letter from its leaders said Wednesday.

Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), respectively the chair and ranking member of the committee, wrote a public letter to Bankman-Fried, who resigned from the exchange the same day it filed for bankruptcy protection last month. The committee is holding a hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 14, a day after the House Financial Services Committee holds its own hearing on the exchange.

“FTX’s collapse has caused real financial harm to consumers, and effects have spilled over into other parts of the crypto industry. The American people need answers about Sam Bankman-Fried’s misconduct at FTX," the lawmakers said in a prepared statement. "The Committee has requested that he testify at our upcoming hearing on FTX’s collapse, and will consider further action if he does not comply.”

Normally, witnesses appear voluntarily, the lawmakers said in the letter. If Bankman-Fried does not confirm his participation by Thursday, "I am prepared, along with Ranking Member Pat Toomey, to issue a subpoena to compel your testimony," the letter signed by Brown said.

House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters has also invited Bankman-Fried to testify, saying in a tweet Wednesday that she may also seek to subpoena him if he does not appear voluntarily.

Bankman-Fried has gone on a press tour since the bankruptcy, speaking to numerous reporters. He has not provided any concrete answers about how FTX appeared to send billions in customer funds to Alameda Research, another company he founded and was a majority owner of, saying he was unsure how it happened and implying that others were responsible for the fund movements.

He now faces a number of investigations, including an investigation by federal prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, who are investigating whether Bankman-Fried may have tried to manipulate the price of TerraUSD and Luna, which collapsed in their own dramatic fashion earlier this year, according to the New York Times.

UPDATE (Dec. 8, 2022, 00:51 UTC): Adds additional detail.

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Nikhilesh De

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.


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