FTX crypto tycoon Bankman-Fried says ‘I didn’t steal funds’

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Former cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried on Thursday said he “didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away.”

In an unusual move for someone awaiting trial, Bankman-Fried wrote a post published on Substack, explaining why the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, which he founded, collapsed.

Bankman-Fried was arrested in December and pleaded not guilty in a US court in January to defrauding customers and investors.

Prosecutors claim he took customer deposits at FTX and invested it in his hedge fund Alameda Research, which financed property purchases and large political donations.

In his blog post on Thursday, Bankman-Fried blamed the collapse of FTX on a broad crash in cryptocurrency markets.

“As Alameda became illiquid, FTX International did as well, because Alameda had a margin position open on FTX,” Bankman-Fried wrote.

The 30-year-old onetime billionaire also said FTX’s US wing remained “fully solvent” and that its international unit had many billions of dollars in assets.

“If it were to reboot, I believe there is a real chance that customers could be made substantially whole,” he wrote.

FTX recovers around $5 billion in assets

Meanwhile, lawyers handling the bankruptcy of FTX on Wednesday said they had recovered over $5 billion (roughly €5 billion) in assets.

“We have located over 5 billion dollars of cash, liquid cryptocurrency and liquid investment securities,” Andy Dietderich, an attorney for FTX, told US Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey in Delaware.

He also said that the company was “well underway” on plans to sell other investments that had a book value of $4.6 billion.

However, Dieterich said it was too soon to say how much was needed to compensate customers who saw their deposits vanish overnight.

“We know that all this has led to a shortfall in value to repay customers and creditors. The amount of the shortfall is not yet clear,” Dietderich told the court.

Bankman-Fried’s federal trial in New York was scheduled for October.

lo/msh (AFP, Reuters)