Embattled FTX co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said today that he will testify before Congress next week. After a Twitter back-and-forth with committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters, he agreed to testify about the crypto exchange’s sudden collapse. “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,” he tweeted this morning. “But as the committee still thinks it would be useful, I am willing to testify on the 13th.” The House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing on Tuesday investigating FTX.
His agreement to testify is an about-face from last week when he tweeted that he only would appear after he finished “learning and reviewing” what led to the company’s rapid downfall. Waters replied, “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.”
Bankman-Fried's testimony for the House Committee will likely be remote, according to The Wall Street Journal. Leaders of the Senate Banking Committee, holding a separate FTX hearing next week, have threatened to subpoena him if he doesn’t also agree to appear in front of their panel. But that may be tough to enforce since he lives in the Bahamas.
His testimony could include a public showdown with John J. Ray III, FTX’s current CEO overseeing bankruptcy proceedings, who is also testifying Tuesday. Ray hasn’t minced words about Bankman-Fried’s “erratic and misleading public statements” about FTX. “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.”
Bankman-Fried resigned last month after Binance backed out of a deal to buy FTX, citing concerns discovered while conducting due diligence. FTX then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, capping off the collapse. The company currently faces more than 100,000 creditors, but that number could expand to over one million.
Hollywood, never an industry to turn down a high-profile downfall story, quickly pounced. Amazon has already greenlit a limited series about FTX helmed by the Russo brothers.