Dec 8, 2022 - Economy

Sam Bankman-Fried ignores Senate request, setting up subpoena

Photo illustration of Sam Bankman-Fried hugging the US Capitol building.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sam Bankman-Fried missed a Thursday evening deadline for responding to a Senate Banking Committee request that he testify at an upcoming hearing, setting up the possibility of a subpoena.

Why it matters: Bankman-Fried has given a slew of media interviews since FTX collapsed, but hasn't yet spoken under penalty of perjury.

Backstory: Committee chair Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Wednesday sent Bankman-Fried a letter requesting that he testify at the Dec. 14 hearing, adding that he and ranking member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) were prepared to issue a subpoena were they to not receive an affirmative reply by 5 pm Thursday.

  • In a statement, Brown and Toomey said: "FTX’s collapse has caused real financial harm to consumers, and effects have spilled over into other parts of the crypto industry. The American people need answers about Sam Bankman-Fried’s misconduct at FTX."
  • A source tells Axios that the Committee was prepared to allow Bankman-Fried to testify virtually from The Bahamas, where FTX was based and where he's believed to have been since it went under.
  • The Committee announced on Thursday night that Bankman-Fried didn't respond by the deadline. Thru stopped short of explicitly saying it would issue the subpoena, but did say that it "will continue to work on having him appear before Congress as detailed in Wednesday’s letter.”

Elsewhere: The House Financial Services Committee has asked Bankman-Fried to appear at its own hearing into the FTX mess, scheduled for Dec. 13.

  • Bankman-Fried replied via Twitter: "Once I have finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain. I'm not sure that will happen by the 13th. But when it does, I will testify."
  • Committee chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Wednesday disputed a CNBC report that she didn't plan to subpoena Bankman-Fried, although she has not yet done so.
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