FTX founder Bankman-Fried agrees to testify at House hearing on collapse

Andrew Ross Sorkin speaks with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried during the New York Times DealBook Summit in the Appel Room at the Jazz At Lincoln Center on November 30, 2022 in New York City. The New York Times held its first in-person DealBook Summit since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with speakers from the worlds of financial services, technology, consumer goods, private investment, venture capital, banking, media, public relations, policy, government, and academia. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The founder and former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency platform FTX on Friday said he will testify before a House committee next week despite his initial reluctance.

In a Friday tweet, Sam Bankman-Fried announced he would testify before the House Financial Services Committee at its Tuesday hearing on the collapse of FTX. 

“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. But as the committee still thinks it would be useful, I am willing to testify on the 13th,” Bankman-Fried tweeted Friday.

He added that he will “try to be helpful” and shed light on “FTX US’s solvency and American customers,” ways to compensate international users, what he thinks led to the crash and his “own failings.”

Bankman-Fried’s decision to testify comes after intense pressure from House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and ranking member Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). The duo had been pushing Bankman-Fried over Twitter to appear before their panel and answer questions under oath from lawmakers after giving several high-profile interviews to journalists.

Bankman-Fried said last week he would appear before the Financial Services panel once he finished “learning and reviewing” what happened at FTX. But his answer did not fly with Waters, who insisted he bring his apology tour to the Capitol.

“Based on your role as CEO and your media interviews over the past few weeks, it’s clear to us that the information you have thus far is sufficient for testimony,” Waters said in a Monday tweet to Bankman-Fried.

“The collapse of FTX has harmed over one million people. Your testimony would not only be meaningful to Members of Congress, but is also critical to the American people.”

Bankman-Fried’s decision to appear means he will face questions from lawmakers about the FTX collapse under oath. While Congress cannot bring criminal charges against an individual, it can share potentially incriminating material with regulators and law enforcement investigating FTX. He could also face charges if he lies to lawmakers, raising the stakes of his upcoming testimony.

Bankman-Fried did not say whether he would also agree to appear before the Senate Banking Committee during its own hearing on FTX scheduled for Wednesday. 

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and ranking member Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) have threatened to subpoena Bankman-Fried to testify if he refuses to do so voluntarily. 

The Hill has reached out to Bankman-Fried on Twitter about whether he will also testify before the Banking panel.

Tags crypto cryptocurrency FTX Maxine Waters Patrick McHenry
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