Sam Bankman-Fried tried to reject allegations he had committed fraud in the collapse of FTX yesterday as he mounted his first public defence since the implosion of the crypto exchange earlier this month.
In his first public appearance since the implosion of FTX at the New York Times’ Dealbook Summit, Bankman Fried said he had not knowingly gambled with customer funds via FTX’s sister trading firm Alameda Research.
“I didn’t ever try to commit fraud,” Bankman-Fried said in the interview.
FTX collapsed amid a liquidity crunch after the firm reportedly shifted around $10bn of its customers’ cash into Alameda, Reuters reported.
Bankman-Fried told Reuters in November the company did not “secretly transfer” but rather misread its “confusing internal labelling.”
The 30 year-old former billionaire told a Vox journalist that he and other bosses “basically forgot” about an Alameda account holding $8bn in customer cash.
However, the founder looked to draw a distinction between the US arm of the exchange and the rest of his sprawling empire yesterday, claiming that users could see some cash withdrawn.
“The US platform—the US regulated platform with American users—to my knowledge, that’s fully solvent,” he said.
“That’s fully funded and I believe that withdrawals could be opened up today and everyone could be made whole from that.”
The collapse of FTX, previously regarded as one of the most stable crypto firms, has sent shockwaves through the ecosystem and sparked a string of high-profile bankruptcies.
Blockfi was the latest major firm to be caught up in the fallout as it filed for bankruptcy earlier this week.