Why would Sam Bankman-Fried want to speak to the world while under investigation?
The fallen founder of the cryptocurrency empire FTX took the question head on at the DealBook Summit on Wednesday, saying it was his “duty.”
“The classic advice is ‘don’t say anything, recede into a hole,’” he said. But he would have none of that. “That’s not who I am, and that’s not who I want to be,” he told Andrew Ross Sorkin. “I have a duty to talk and explain what happened.”
Mr. Bankman-Fried is being investigated by the authorities in multiple jurisdictions, including the Bahamas, Turkey and the United States.
He faces civil and criminal liability for the collapse in which investors and customers may be out billions in funds they’ll never recover.
The son of two Stanford University law professors, Mr. Bankman-Fried said that his parents did not approve of the tweets, letters and other comments he’d made since FTX filed for bankruptcy this month, but Mr. Bankman-Fried said he did not see the good it would do to sit in a room “pretending the outside world doesn’t exist.”
But everything Mr. Bankman-Fried has said can and very likely will be used against him in court. Some of the authorities who are investigating the FTX collapse have said that prison — and even a life term — could be a possibility for him.
Mr. Bankman-Fried is in the Bahamas now, but he said there was no legal risk for him in returning to the United States. He said that he could envision eventually explaining to lawmakers what went wrong at FTX.