Sam Bankman-Fried says he doesn't know who took $515 million from FTX's accounts after its bankruptcy filing




Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX at DealBook Summit
Sam Bankman-Fried of FTX at DealBook Summit  
  • Sam Bankman-Fried says he doesn't know who accessed FTX's systems without permission during its collapse.

  • Bankman-Fried was questioned on the whereabouts of $515 million, reported missing by the Times.

  • He admitted there was "unauthorized access," but said he had no idea who was behind it.

Sam Bankman-Fried said he doesn't know who transferred $515 million out of FTX's crypto wallets, during an interview at the New York Times DealBook Summit on Wednesday evening.

The FTX founder was questioned about a Times report from November 12 - the day after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - where researchers found suspicious transfers they suggested were hacked or stolen.

John J. Ray III, the CEO appointed to oversee the company's bankruptcy, then confirmed that "unauthorized access to certain assets has occurred."

Andrew Ross Sorkin, the host of the DealBook summit, asked: "There have been accusations that this is the assistance, effectively, of theft. Where did that money go?"

Bankman-Fried replied that he had been locked out of the company's systems at that point, so did not have a full picture of what was going on inside the company, but said he would answer Sorkin's question "to the extent that I know it."

He then explained that some assets were taken away by regulators and employees, but there was also unauthorized access, but that he did not know who by.

The day before FTX filed for bankruptcy, the Bahamas suspended the company's business license and took control of its assets by transferring them into a government-owned crypto wallet.

The company went bankrupt after seeing an estimated $6 billion in withdrawals over 72 hours. Things got even worse after rival Binance decided not to bail out FTX and customers rushed to withdraw their funds, sending its value down by 94% in one day.

Bankman-Fried said that the Bahamas securities commission was "to my knowledge, taking actions to protect clients and customers there."

The country's attorney general, Ryan Pinder, defended these actions on Sunday. He said the Bahamas "deserves the highest praise for moving so swiftly and decisively," while criticizing bankruptcy lawyers.

Bankman-Fried also said that similar actions were taken by some FTX.US employees "to seize some of the assets and put it in custody from the exchange."

But now, two weeks after the "suspicious" transfer of $515 million was first reported, Bankman-Fried says he doesn't know who was behind it.

In addition to the Bahamas and FTX.US transfers, he said, there has "also been some actually improper access of assets on the exchange."

"I don't know the details of that. I don't have the resources to trace through exactly what happened there. And I don't know who is behind that third part."

At the DealBook Summit, Bankman-Fried also said he doesn't think he's criminally liable for FTX's implosion, and his lawyers didn't want him to talk publicly.

He also denied reports that staff were on recreational drugs, saying it was "totally on-label use of medication."

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