House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said in a tweet Wednesday that a subpoena for FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to testify is “definitely on the table” at a Dec. 13 hearing about the dive bomb that his cryptocurrency exchanges, survived last month, despite reports indicating she had no plans to call him.
However, Waters’ tweet did not say that Bankman-Fried would be subpoenaed, but instead “was asked to testify.” Bankman-Fried is currently in the Bahamas.
CNBC reported Wednesday that Waters told Democrats she had no plans to call Bankman-Fried during a private meeting Tuesday with Gary Gensler, Securities and Exchange Commission chairman.
Those familiar with the conversation declined to be named, according to the report, but said Waters wanted to see if the committee could get Bankman-Fried to testify on her own.
Bankman-Fried is facing a barrage of legal ramifications over its involvement in the collapse of FTX, which prompted it to file for bankruptcy in November.
A full-blown liquidity crisis forced FTX to declare bankruptcy, and Bankman-Fried’s fortune, estimated at $15.6 billion just before the declaration, has plummeted to the point on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index that says he has no material wealth.
He then became a billionaire creating FTX, as well as an object of media fascination. Bankman-Fried was also a philanthropist, donating to causes that address issues such as pandemics and climate change, along with donations to Democrats and liberal PACs.
With these donations, he became a major player in Washington.
Waters, a Democrat, will lose her post as committee leader on Jan. 3, 2023, as Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.
Once that power passes to Congressman Patrick McHenry, he will decide whether to call Bankman-Fried to testify at the next session, if he refuses to do so himself.
CNBC reported that Waters has invited the FTX executive to testify voluntarily, although she has the option to change her mind and call him before Tuesday.
Waters told Bankman-Fried in a series of tweets that the information she has as CEO is sufficient to testify and will not only be “significant” to members of Congress, but also “critical” to the American people.
“Once I have finished studying and reviewing what happened, I will feel it is my duty to appear before the committee and explain,” Bankman-Fried responded. “I’m not sure it will happen until the 13th, but when it does, I will testify.
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