Subpoenas An Option If SBF Fails To Testify Voluntarily

Subpoenas An Option If SBF Fails To Testify Voluntarily

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A game of hide and seek is playing out between Sam Bankman-Fried, the Financial Services Committee, and the Senate Banking Committee.

Both committees will be holding hearings to look into the FTX collapse and have asked Bankman-Fried to appear before them. 

Cat And Mouse 

The United States Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters has requested that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried appear before the Financial Services Committee hearing, set to take place on the 13th of December. The former FTX CEO is being requested to testify at two separate congressional hearings. Waters first requested Bankman-Fried to appear before the committee for the inquiry through a Twitter post on the 3rd of December. 

However, Sam Bankman-Fried rejected Waters’s invitation, stating that he would only appear before the committee once he had finished learning, understanding, and reviewing how the events leading up to the FTX collapse played out. He added that he was not sure this process would be completed before next week’s hearing. 

“Rep. Waters and the House Committee on Financial Services: 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.”

This was despite SBF appearing in multiple interviews and discussions on several media channels.

Financial Services Committee Chair Pushes Back 

Waters pushed back against Bankman-Fried and his excuses citing his media reports, stating that the knowledge he has shown in these interviews is “sufficient for testimony.” Waters added that he needed to appear for the hearing, stating that the committee was willing to schedule continued hearings if there was more information he could share later. 

The Subpoena Option 

Waters refuted news reports suggesting that she was unwilling to subpoena Bankman-Fried at the upcoming December 13th hearing because she wanted him to testify voluntarily. The Financial Services Committee Chair called these reports lies and confirmed that a subpoena was an option to force Bankman-Fried to testify before the committee. 

“Lies are circulating @CNBC that I am not willing to subpoena @SBF_FTX. He has been requested to testify at the 13th of December hearing. A subpoena is definitely on the table. Stay tuned.”

If a subpoena is issued, Bankman-Fried will be compelled to appear and testify at the hearing. Failure to comply with the subpoena would result in him being held in contempt of Congress, a criminal offense that carries a punishment of 12 months in prison and a fine of $100,000. The 13th of December hearing, titled “Investigating the Collapse of FTX,” is just one of a series of similar hearings that will be held to probe the collapse of the FTX. The hearings will see companies and individuals involved with FTX, Alameda Research, and Binance appear before it. 

A Second Subpoena? 

Apart from the Financial Services Committee, The Senate Banking Committee also wants Sam Bankman-Fried to appear before it to discuss the FTX collapse. The committee is firm that it would be issuing SBF a subpoena if he does not appear before it voluntarily. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa) had written a public letter to Bankman-Fried, who had resigned from the exchange after it filed for bankruptcy. The committee will be holding a hearing on the 14th of December, just a day after the House Financial Services Committee’s hearing. 

In a prepared statement, Senator Brown and Senator Toomey stated, 

“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. The Committee has requested that he testify at our upcoming hearing on FTX’s collapse and will consider further action if he does not comply. You must answer for the failure of both entities that was caused, at least in part, by the clear misuse of client funds and wiped out billions of dollars owed to over a million creditors.”

Crypto Community Calls Out SBF 

Many in the community called out , stating that his actions contradicted his recent conduct. He has been conducting multiple interviews and tweeting furiously about what led to the FTX debacle. Head of policy for Blockchain Association and US Attorney Jake Chervinsky suggested that Bankman-Fried was reluctant to participate in the hearings because “lying to Congress under oath is less appealing.”

“Translation: he doesn’t mind lying to Andrew Ross Sorkin or George Stephanopoulos, but lying to Congress under oath is less appealing.”

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong echoed similar sentiments, stating,

“I don’t care how messy your accounting is (or how rich you are) - you’re definitely going to notice if you find an extra $8B to spend. Even the most gullible person should not believe Sam’s claim that this was an accounting error.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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