Sam Bankman-Fried said that the FTX was a bet gone wrong
Customers affected by Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX collapse have unanswered inquiries and lost money. But Bankman-Fried didn’t provide the candor that many had hoped to hear from the 30-year-old former crypto billionaire during his much-awaited interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin on Wednesday for The New York Times.
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried: ‘I Didn’t Knowingly Commingle Funds’
Bankman-Fried insisted he hadn’t intentionally broken any laws and stuck to the story that FTX’s demise was the product of an unforeseen market drop. Against the advice of his attorneys, he virtually joined the debate from his home in the Bahamas. “I didn’t ever try to commit fraud,” Bankman-Fried said.
Formerly valued at $40 billion, Bankman-FTX.com Fried’s and FTX US exchanges filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month after Alameda Research, the trading arm of FTX, was found to have abnormal balance sheets. FTX client cash worth billions of dollars are still missing, according to preliminary court proceedings. Even though he “didn’t think it was existential for FTX,” Bankman-Fried confessed feeling anxious when the CoinDesk report was published on Nov. 2.
One explanation holds that Bankman-Fried unlawfully transferred those funds from Alameda to the FTX market, where they were lost in a series of poor trades. Bankman-Fried responded that he “didn’t willfully commingle monies” when repeatedly questioned by Sorkin about whether he illegally accepted client deposits and lent them to Alameda.
The data shown on the exchange’s defective monitors differed significantly from the company’s legitimately certified financials, according to Bankman-Fried, who blamed the problem on an accounting error. Bankman-Fried, who fidgeted and glanced down at the floor several times throughout the interview and did not appear to be simultaneously playing video games, as he frequently does during media interviews, remarked, “I was startled.”
When pressed about the relationship between Alameda and FTX, Bankman-Fried said it had decreased over time. “I was primarily looking at it from a trading perspective,” said Bankman-Fried, adding that Alameda accounted for only about 2% of FTX’s volume in 2022, down from about 45% of FTX’s volume in 2019. He said the fact that FTX employees lived with Alameda employees did not seem inappropriate.
When asked about his future and whether he had any criminal liability, Bankman-Fried stuttered, “I don’t personally think that…that’s not what I’m focusing on.” “There’s going to be a time and place to think about myself and my future,” Bankman-Fried said. “I’ve had a bad month. Right now, that’s not what matters here.”
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