The answer as to whether embattled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried will appear before two congressional committees next week is being played out on Twitter.
In a morning post on twitter On Friday, Mr. Bankman-Fried said he would appear before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday after being evasive for days on the issue. The hearing will focus on the sudden collapse last month of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange that Mr Bankman-Fried founded, amid allegations of embezzlement of billions of customers’ money.
Mr Bankman-Fried, 30, said in a Twitter post that “there is only so much I can say, and I won’t be as helpful as I would like”.
Since FTX and its associated companies filed for bankruptcy last month, Mr. Bankman-Fried has been holed up in his residential compound in the Bahamas, where FTX was based. He has given numerous media interviews either in person in the Bahamas or via Zoom to talk about the collapse of the once popular cryptocurrency trading platform.
It is unclear whether he will appear in person before the House committee.
Mr. Bankman-Fried did not respond to a separate request from the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to appear before senators the following day.
In a letter sent Wednesday, the Senate committee gave Bankman-Fried until 5 p.m. Thursday to respond to a request that he testify next Wednesday. Committee leaders issued a statement late Thursday saying that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s attorney had missed that deadline.
Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio and chairman of the committee, said in the letter to Mr. Bankman-Fried that if the cryptocurrency trader was unwilling to speak to the committee, he was prepared to issue a subpoena to compel him to testify.
A spokesperson for Mr. Bankman-Fried and his attorney Mark Cohen declined to comment beyond the Twitter post. Representatives of the Senate committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Over the past two weeks, Mr. Bankman-Fried has been on something of a media tour, giving interviews to various news outlets and posting messages on Twitter. He has repeatedly said that he never intended to defraud anyone, including FTX’s estimated million customers.
Mr Bankman-Fried said he was not directly involved in the business decisions of Alameda Research, a hedge fund he co-founded and largely owned. Just before FTX’s bankruptcy filing, it was revealed that billions of client money on the exchange had apparently been transferred to Alameda.
With federal prosecutors and securities regulators investigating FTX’s collapse, the risks are far greater for Mr. Bankman-Fried to testify before a congressional committee than to speak to the media. Statements he makes to a journalist do not have the same legal weight as testimony given before Congress.
Mr. Bankman-Fried was active in politics, having donated about $40 million to federal campaigns and committees that primarily supported Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission records.