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The answer to whether the beleaguered FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will appear before two congressional committees next week is unfolding on Twitter.
and early morning twitter post Bankman-Fried said Friday that he will appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday after days of dodging the issue. The hearing will focus on last month’s sudden collapse of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange founded by Bankman Fried, that allegedly embezzled billions of dollars of customer money.
Bankman-Fried, 30, said in a Twitter post, “There are limits to what I can say and it’s not as helpful as I’d like.”
Since FTX and its affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy last month, Bankman-Fried has been trapped in a residential complex in the Bahamas, where FTX is based. He allowed numerous media interviews in person in the Bahamas or via Zoom to talk about the collapse of the once-popular cryptocurrency trading platform.
It is unclear if he will appear before a House committee in person.
Bankman-Fried was asked by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to appear before senators the next day, but he did not comply.
In a letter sent Wednesday, the Senate committee Gave Bankman-Fried responded to requests to testify next Wednesday until 5 p.m. Thursday. The committee leader issued a statement Thursday evening saying Bankman-Fried’s attorney had failed to meet that deadline.
In a letter to Bankman-Fried, Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat of Ohio and chairman of the committee, wrote that crypto traders would be forced to testify if they did not want to speak to the committee. He said he was ready to issue a subpoena.
Spokespeople for Bankman-Fried and his attorney, Mark Cohen, declined to comment other than on Twitter. Representatives of the Senate committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Over the past two weeks, Bankman-Fried has been on a sort of media tour, interviewing various news outlets and posting messages on Twitter. He has repeatedly stated that he never intended to cheat anyone, including FTX’s estimated 1 million customers.
Bankman-Fried said he was not directly involved in the trading decisions of Alameda Research, the hedge fund he co-founded and majority owns. Just before FTX filed for bankruptcy, it was revealed that billions of dollars of the exchange’s customers’ money had apparently been transferred to Alameda.
With federal prosecutors and securities regulators investigating the FTX bankruptcy, Bankman-Fried faces far greater risks in testifying before congressional committees than in speaking to the media. Statements he makes to reporters do not carry the same legal weight as testimony made before Congress.
Federal Election Commission records show Bankman-Fried was politically active, donating about $40 million to federal campaigns and committees, mostly pro-Democrats.