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FTX’ Bankman-Fried Roadshow Begins

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Sam Bankman-Fried, the infamous 30 year-old FTX Co-Founder of the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange will be interviewed by Andrew Ross Sorkin at the New York Times DealBook Summit on Nov. 30. 

Sorkin confirmed the interview in a tweet Wednesday. “There are a lot of important questions to be asked and answered,” Sorkin wrote, promising “Nothing is off limits.”

Bankman-Fried confirmed his interview with Sorkin on Twitter and quoted a tweet from the anonymous cryptocurrency news account @BTC_Archive, which reads “FTX FOUNDER: Minutes after FTX bankruptcy was signed ‘potential interest in billions of dollars of funding came in.”

FTX had been the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange until it declared bankruptcy in early November. 

After filing for bankruptcy, John Ray III, FTX’s newly appointed CEO, called FTX’s failure, “unprecedented” and “a complete failure of corporate controls,” “absence of trustworthy financial information,” handled by “inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals.” 

“I have over 40 years of legal and restructuring experience. I have been the Chief Restructuring Officer or Chief Executive Officer in several of the largest corporate failures in history. I have supervised situations involving allegations of criminal activity and malfeasance (Enron). I have supervised situations involving novel financial structures (Enron and Residential Capital) and cross-border asset recovery and maximization (Nortel and Overseas Shipholding). Nearly every situation in which I have been involved has been characterized by defects of some sort in internal controls, regulatory compliance, human resources and systems integrity,” stated Ray in a declaration filed with the court. 

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented,” further noted Ray. 

Ray further wrote that many entities of the FTX Group “never had board meetings” and the entity did not “maintain centralized control of its cash.”

“Cash management procedural failures included the absence of an accurate list of bank accounts and account signatories, as well as insufficient attention to the creditworthiness of banking partners around the world,” wrote Ray.

Since the bankruptcy filing, Bankman-Fried has been scrutinized for mismanaging billions of dollars of customer funds. 

The fee to attend the NYT’s DealBook Summit is $2,499. Other speakers include Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Larry Fink of BlackRock.

What’s Team FTX’s next stop? 

 U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee is expected to hear from Bankman-Fried and some of his “inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised” colleagues in December.

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