- Sam Bankman-Fried said he doesn’t think he is criminally liable for FTX’s collapse.
- Under his leadership, the company lost billions and now faces allegations of misuse of customer funds.
- Bankman-Fried has remained in the Bahamas but said he has "thought about" returning to the US.
Sam Bankman-Fried said he doesn’t think he’s legally accountable for the collapse of his FTX crypto empire that caused billions of dollars in losses. Still, he said he had defied his lawyers’ wishes not to speak publicly.
Speaking to journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times Dealbook conference on Wednesday, Bankman-Fried said, "I don’t personally think that," when asked whether he was concerned he would be held criminally liable for FTX’s implosion.
"It sounds weird to say, but I think the real answer is that’s not what I’m focusing on. There’s going to be a time and place for me to think about myself and my own future, but I don’t think this is it," he said.
Bankman-Fried said he committed to "help out" the millions of customers and stakeholders of FTX who lost money amid the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.
Earlier this month, Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of FTX after the exchange faced a liquidity crisis and allegations of misused customer funds to prop up Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading firm, Alameda Research. The firm still owes its debtors $8 billion, and FTX’s bankruptcy sent shockwaves throughout the entire cryptocurrency industry.
Bankman-Fried said his lawyers advised him not to speak about the situation.
"I mean, it’s the classic advice. Don’t say anything; recede into a hole," he said.
"I have a duty to talk to people… I have a duty to do everything I can to try and do what’s right," he added.
FTX, now run by a new CEO, John Ray, recently said that Bankman-Fried is no longer employed by FTX and does not speak for the company.
Bankman-Fried, who has remained in the Bahamas where FTX was headquartered throughout the entire saga, denied that he was avoiding the US due to fears of arrest, saying he has "thought about" coming back.
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