Before Arrest, SBF Had Epic First Line Prepped for Congress

Bankman-Fried of collapsed FTX fund planned to use an f-bomb in his mea culpa
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2022 6:47 AM CST
Before Arrest, SBF Had Epic First Line Prepped for Congress
A screen grab from ABC News shows Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX.   (Good Morning America/ABC News via AP)

In an interview on Monday, Sam Bankman-Fried declared, "I don't think I will be arrested." Hours later, the former CEO of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX was proved wrong. Authorities in the Bahamas took the 30-year-old into custody at the request of US officials. The details:

  • Timing: It's a little odd. SBF had been scheduled to testify before Congress on Tuesday, and prosecutors could have had that sworn testimony had they waited a day to arrest him, notes Axios. Rep. Maxine Waters, chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, said in a statement she was surprised and "disappointed" to learn of the arrest, reports Reuters. SBF's successor at FTX, John Ray, will still testify.
  • Opening line: Reuters obtained SBF's prepared statement to the panel, and he planned to open with the line, "I would like to start by formally stating, under oath: I f----- up." He also planned to say that he was pressured by lawyers and Ray to step down, and when he changed his mind within minutes after an offer of billions in funding emerged, he was told it was too late.

  • Extradition: SBF is considering whether to fight extradition to the US from the Bahamas, where FTX is headquartered, reports the Wall Street Journal. However, the AP reports that he would at best be able to delay his extradition, not stop it entirely.
  • Charges: They're two-pronged. Prosecutors for the Southern District of New York plan to unseal a criminal indictment on Tuesday, and the New York Times reports the charges include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering. Separately, the SEC filed a complaint Tuesday charging SBF with defrauding investors, per the AP.
  • The money: In his prepared testimony, SBF reiterated what he has said previously, that his net worth has cratered from about $20 billion to $100,000 in a year. He was once the "golden boy" of crypto, per the Times, before his fund collapsed in what was essentially a bank run by investors rattled by reports of shaky financial books. It has since emerged that SBF "secretly used $10 billion in customer funds to prop up his trading business," per Reuters.
(More Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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