The New York Times has confirmed that disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will appear for a speaking concert next week, sparking widespread outrage.
The 30-year-old, who is under investigation by US and Bahamas authorities over the sudden collapse of his $32 billion cryptocurrency empire, was previously in the lineup for Wednesday, November 30’s Dealbook summit.
Other speakers at the event, which “brings together today’s most important minds,” include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Blackrock CEO Larry Fink and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
After FTX’s spectacular implosion earlier this month — and billions of dollars in client funds disappearing — Dealbook host Andrew Ross Sorkin said “a lot of people were asking” if he was still interviewing “SBF.”
“The answer is yes,” Sorkin wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, confirming an earlier tweet by Mr. Bankman-Fried about the upcoming gig. “There are many important questions that need to be asked and answered. Nothing is taboo. Look forward to something.”
Social media users reacted with disbelief to the news.
“If I were Andrew Sorkin, the first question I would ask SBF would be, ‘Why aren’t you in jail right now?'” he said Hidden Powers Podcast host Demetri Kofinas.
Tech Dirt Editor Mike Masnick said: “I almost feel sorry for this man’s lawyers. Anyhow, I guarantee the DOJ will be there to take very careful notes.”
A Twitter user claimed the “rule of law” in the US is dead.
“In 2008, Bernie Madoff was arrested within 24 hours after his fraud was exposed. In 2022, Sam Bankman-Fried will attend the NY Times Dealbook Summit after his fraud was exposed,” wrote another.
Despite the outrage, a number of users suggested real questions they would have liked answered.
“Rather than talking about leverage and how it was all just a minor accident, I’d be really curious as to what made you think using client funds without their knowledge is fine,” one said.
Another added: “Would be good to hear…when/how you decided to take client funds and use them as collateral for loans – this is the key issue much more than margin issues and will be wiped out – more on political donation process and how.” these talks are going on behind closed doors.”
The New York Times had previously been criticized last week for publishing a lengthy interview with Mr Bankman-Fried, which many called a “puff piece”.
On Wednesday, the newspaper ran another article about the entrepreneur, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on political donations and charitable giving over the past three years.
“A network of political action committees, nonprofits, and consultancies funded by FTX or its executives worked to bring politicians, regulators, and others in political orbit to justice, with the aim of concurrently making Mr. Bankman-Fried the authoritative voice of crypto to make regulation design for the industry and other causes,” the article reads.
“Politicians, interest groups and fundraisers are now keeping their distance. Some lawmakers are matching campaign contributions from Mr. Bankman-Fried and his allies by making charitable donations in the same amounts they received. Legislators are calling for hearings.”
In response to the article, citizen journalism crypto account Autism Capital wrote: “Damage control is in full swing. We can’t be the only ones watching this? That’s rude.”
It comes after Mr Bankman-Fried wrote a letter to former employees saying he was “deeply sorry” about the implosion of his crypto exchange – but he continued to point the finger at the company’s bankruptcy filing and insisted he Platform could have saved if he had given enough time.
“I am deeply sorry for what happened. I’m sorry about what happened to you all,” Mr Bankman-Fried – who is said to have bought hundreds of millions of dollars worth of expensive property in the Bahamas, although he claimed to defend “effective altruism” – said in the letter.
“I didn’t want something like that to happen and I would give anything to be able to go back and do things all over again. you were my family I lost that and our old home is an empty warehouse full of monitors. When I turn around, there’s no one left to talk to.”
The letter was posted by a staff member on FTX’s internal Slack channel. Mr. Bankman-Fried has resigned as CEO and is no longer with the Company.
FTX attorneys on Tuesday told a Delaware bankruptcy judge that “a significant amount of assets have either been stolen or are missing.”
FTX filed for protection in the US after traders pulled $6 billion ($8.9 billion) from the platform in three days and rival exchange Binance abandoned a bailout deal. The collapse left an estimated one million creditors with billions of dollars in losses.
During this week’s bankruptcy hearing, an attorney for FTX told the court that Mr. Bankman-Fried ran the company as his own “personal fiefdom.”
New FTX CEO John Ray, who took over when the company filed for bankruptcy, also accused Mr Bankman-Fried of colluding with Bahamian regulators to “undermine” the US bankruptcy case and move assets overseas.
The FTX founder did not address allegations that client funds were used by sister company Alameda Research, run by his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, to make risky bets.
In his letter, Mr. Bankman-Fried instead continued to insist that he had a way out of the mess, writing to his staff: “The potential interest in billions of dollars in funding came about eight minutes after I signed the Chapter 11 documents. Combined with that money, the billions of dollars of collateral the company still held, and the interest we had received from other parties, I think we could have probably given great value back to customers and saved the business. I believe there is billions of dollars of genuine interest from new investors that could help bring customers back to health.”
Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote in the letter that cryptocurrency’s fall in value halved FTX’s collateral to around $30 billion ($44.5 billion). The company’s liabilities were valued at US$2 billion (US$3 billion).
When cryptocurrencies failed to recover, collateral fell even further to around $9 billion (US$13 billion), according to Mr. Bankman-Fried, who bemoaned the “run on the bank” as account holders attempted to withdraw their deposits .
“I was not aware of the full extent of the margin position nor the extent of the risk posed by a hypercorrelated crash,” Mr. Bankman-Fried wrote.
The chain of events prompted FTX to file for bankruptcy protection, he claimed.
– with NY Post
#Anger #disgraced #crypto #CEOs #gig