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FTX Founder Bankman-Fried ‘Willing to Testify’ Before US House Panel, Tweet

Published: December 9, 2022
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried speaks during the New York Times DealBook Summit in the Appel Room at the Jazz At Lincoln Center on Nov. 30, 2022 in New York City. (Image: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried is willing to testify before the U.S. House Committee on Dec. 13, the cryptocurrency exchange’s founder said in a tweet on Friday, as regulators investigate his role in the wake of its collapse.

A day earlier, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters told Reuters that she is prepared to subpoena Bankman-Fried if he does not agree to appear before the panel.

“I still do not have access to much of my data — professional or personal. So there is a limit to what I will be able to say, and I won’t be as helpful as I’d like,” Bankman-Fried said on Friday.

“But as the committee still thinks it would be useful, I am willing to testify on the 13th,” he added.

It was not clear if he plans to be at the hearing in person or through a video feed.

In recent weeks, U.S. authorities have sought information from investors and potential investors in FTX, two sources with knowledge of the requests told Reuters. Prosecutors and regulators have not charged Bankman-Fried with any crime.

Battling crypto pioneers

FTX filed for bankruptcy last month and Bankman-Fried stepped down as chief executive, after traders pulled $6 billion from the platform in three days and rival exchange Binance abandoned a rescue deal.

Reuters detailed last month the bitter rivalry between Bankman-Fried and Binance Chief Executive Changpeng Zhao, who had in the months before FTX’s downfall competed for market share.

Public tension between the two erupted again on Friday after a string of tweets by Zhao.

Zhao said after Binance – an early investor in FTX – sought to exit its stake over one-and-a-half years ago, Bankman-Fried made “offensive tirades” against Binance team members.

Binance sold back to FTX its stake in the company last year.

In reply, Bankman-Fried wrote: “We initiated conversations around buying you out, and we decided to do it because it was important for our business.”

“You threatened to walk at the last minute if we didn’t kick in an extra ~$75m,” he added. “You didn’t even have the rights to pull out as an investor unless we chose to buy you out–much of the tokens/equity were still locked.”

“Not that it matters now. You also can’t force us to sell if we don’t want to,” Zhao replied.

“It was never a competition or fight. No one won.”

By Reuters (Reporting by Mehnaz Yasmin in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Sriraj Kalluvila)