Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/AP
By Allison Morrow, CNN Business
Sam Bankman-Fried, the now-bankrupt founder of FTX, has fallen from the pinnacle of crypto celebrity, but he is not going quietly. In back-to-back interviews, he presents himself as a clumsy and regretful businessman.
“I think I got a little arrogant, I mean, more than a little bit,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview on Good Morning America.
A key question for Bankman-Fried is whether FTX, its cryptocurrency exchange, misappropriated client money when it lent billions of dollars to its hedge fund, Alameda.
Bankman-Fried, echoing comments he also made to The New York Times on Wednesday, denied any knowledge of any improper transfer of client funds between the exchange and Alameda.
“I really wish deeply that I had taken a lot more responsibility to understand what were the details of what was going on there,” he told Stephanopoulos. “A lot of people got hurt, and that’s up to me.”
Ever since Bankman-Fried went from crypto celebrity to pariah almost overnight, commentators have drawn comparisons to Bernie Madoff, the financier convicted of running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of investors.
“I don’t think that’s who I am at all, but I understand why they say that,” Bankman-Fried told Stephanopoulos. “When you look at the classic Bernie Madoff story, there was no real business there… FTX, that was real business.”
His interview with ABC, taped in The Bahamas last week, aired just hours after Bankman-Fried’s. live broadcast interview with The New York Times on Wednesday night. In that interview, Bankman-Fried said that he “never intended to commit fraud against anyone,” although he admitted that he made mistakes as chief executive.
Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of FTX after it and dozens of affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy on November 11, in one of the most impressive corporate implosions in history. Almost overnight, clients around the world scrambled to recover billions of dollars in funds they had deposited on the platform. Bankman-Fried’s Billionaire Personal Wealth evaporatedand crypto companies with financial exposure to FTX it began to twist.
The FTX collapse is under investigation by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, according to a person familiar with the matter, and by Bahamian authorities, where the companies were located. Several Financial regulators have also been in contact with the company’s new management, led by restructuring specialists tasked with guiding FTX through bankruptcy.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
— CNN’s Kara Scannell contributed to this reporting.
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