Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried said Monday that he will testify to Congress remotely rather than in person because he is “pretty much booked” and has security concerns about “paparazzi” if he visits Washington.
Lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee are set to grill Bankman-Fried on Tuesday over the rapid collapse of the once-tens-of-billion-dollar digital currency exchange.
During Monday’s “Extraordinary Whales” platform interview on Twitter Spaces, Bankman-Fried confirmed she would testify — but via a Zoom connection from her luxury residence in the Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried FTX has been on a media tour to defend its actions since filing for bankruptcy on Nov. 11. But when asked why he didn’t attend the House hearings, the crypto-minor replied: “I’m booked too much. ”
Asked whether her refusal to appear in person on Twitter Spaces was due to fear of arrest, Bankman-Fried said she was deterred by “the paparazzi.”
“I don’t think I’m going to get arrested,” Bankman-Fried told more than 19,000 Twitter users who tuned in to the interview. The Post reached out to Bankman-Fried for comment.
During an interview with Twitter Spaces, Bankman-Fried admitted to playing video games that cause clicking noises to be heard in the background. He said he would make a solo appearance in front of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
FTX CEO John J. Ray III, the bankruptcy expert and attorney appointed as CEO after the cryptocurrency exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, will also testify Tuesday.
Bankman-Fried said during the “Extraordinary Whales” interview that she was also “open and ready” to appear before the powerful Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.
In a tweet on Friday, he said he would be limited in what he could say to congressional leaders “It won’t be useful” as he wishes..
The tweet came in response to several tweets from House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) earlier this month demanding that Bankman-Fried attend a hearing on the FTX collapse.
In a series of tweets to Bankman-Fried, Waters said, based on multiple media interviews since the FTX collapse, “it is clear to us that the information you have provided so far is sufficient for testimony.”
Unlike Bankman-Fried’s interviews with reporters, her testimony to Congress would put her at risk of perjury.
Federal prosecutors are reportedly preparing a potential fraud charge against the disgraced crypto tycoon, and speculation is growing that his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison may be involved. Ellison was an executive at FTX’s sister cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research.
According to Bloomberg News, officials with the Department of Justice in the Southern District of New York are investigating allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars were transferred from the United States to the Bahamas as the FTX cryptocurrency exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
According to previous reports, federal prosecutors in Manhattan are also investigating whether Bankman-Fried manipulated cryptocurrency markets by orchestrating the trades that led to the collapse of the TerraUSD cryptocurrency earlier this year.
Bankman-Fried denied personal responsibility for the FTX collapse and said she “never tried to commit fraud.” He also alleged that FTX and Alameda Research had “unwittingly pooled funds.”
Meanwhile, Ellison it is reported that he was seen drinking coffee At a Soho restaurant in Manhattan last week, it hired Stephanie Avakian, a partner at white-shoe law firm Wilmer Hale — and a former head of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bloomberg reported separately.
The Post has reached out to Wilmer Hale for comment.
Although Bankman-Fried has given several interviews and posted frequently on social media in recent weeks, Ellison has remained silent, leading some observers to believe that she wants to cooperate with authorities.
With post wires