Ex-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried today said he will not appear in person at tomorrow’s House committee hearing in Washington D.C. because of the “Paparazzi effect” his presence would cause.
When listeners of a live Twitter Spaces interview pressed the founder of the fallen exchange about his attendance, Bankman-Fried, who also is known by his initials SBF, added he would attend be “calling in” to the event.
After a bizarre back-and-forth with House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters on Twitter earlier this month, SBF confirmed late last week that he would testify before the committee. Bankman-Fried is now expected to testify at the U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday where lawmakers will quiz the crypto businessman on the colossal collapse of his exchange.
“I respect where people are coming from on this, but it’s very difficult for me to move and travel right now because the paparazzi effect is quite large,” he said Monday in the interview hosted by Twitter account Unusual Whales.
Bankman-Fried added that he would not attend another hearing scheduled with the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.
The ex-CEO is currently in the Bahamas, where his FTX empire is based. FTX was once one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world but spectacularly blew up last month in what James Bromley, counsel to FTX's new management, described as “one of the most abrupt and difficult collapses in the history of corporate America.”
FTX’s fall was in part due to the exchange allegedly using client money invested in crypto to make risky investment bets through Alameda Research—which wasn’t sustainable.
Alameda was a trading firm that was also founded by Bankman-Fried in 2019. The founder said he stepped away from day-to-day operations in 2021.
Bankman-Fried’s appearance tomorrow will be the first time he appears publicly before lawmakers since the collapse of the exchange.
2) I will try to be helpful during the hearing, and to shed what light I can on:
--FTX US's solvency and American customers
--Pathways that could return value to users internationally
--What I think led to the crash
--My own failings
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) December 9, 2022
In today’s interview, Bankman-Fried didn’t appear to give satisfactory answers to listeners’ questions.
For example, when pressed on whether tokenized stocks on FTX were backed one-to-one by shares of stock, he said “to my knowledge they were,” adding that he would try to find the answer.
Bankman-Fried also said that his Tuesday testimony was likely to be “underwhelming.”