Democrat Mega-donor and FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday, just hours before he was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.
Bankman-Fried was arrested after U.S. authorities filed criminal charges against him, U.S. Attorneys confirmed.
“Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the SDNY,” United States Attorney Damian Williams said. “We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.”
USA Damian Williams: Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the SDNY. We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) December 12, 2022
However, some politicians quickly pointed out Bankman-Fried’s arrest came just hours before his highly anticipated testimony before Congress.
“Tomorrow, Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee. @HouseGOP was ready to grill him six ways to Sunday,” former New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin tweeted. “Now breaking tonight, SBF was just arrested! Why not allow him to 1st testify tomorrow and answer our many questions?”
Tomorrow, Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee. @HouseGOP was ready to grill him six ways to Sunday.
Now breaking tonight, SBF was just arrested!
Why not allow him to 1st testify tomorrow and answer our many questions?
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) December 13, 2022
Bankman-Fried’s scheduled appearance before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday came after the disgraced financier previously dodged chairwoman Maxine Waters’s (D-CA) request for him to testify before the committee.
Bankman-Fried told Waters and the Committee last week that he is “not sure” if he would be finished “learning and reviewing what happened” with FTX before the committee wanted him to testify on December 13.
However, on Monday, during a Twitter Space interview just hours before his arrest, Bankman-Fried confirmed that he would appear remotely before the House Financial Services Committee rather than an in-person appearance because he is “quite overbooked.”
“I don’t think I will be arrested,” Bankman-Fried reportedly said during the Twitter Space.
He added that he is “open and willing” to possibly appear before the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, criticized Bankman-Fried over his reluctance to confirm an appearance before their committee.
Brown and Toomey said in a joint statement:
Virtually every CEO, financial regulator, and administration official for Republicans and Democrats has agreed to testify in front of both the Senate and House when called upon – that is how congressional oversight works. We have offered Sam Bankman-Fried two different dates for providing testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, and are willing to accommodate virtual testimony. He has declined in an unprecedented abdication of accountability.
Given that Bankman-Fried’s counsel has stated they are unwilling to accept service of a subpoena, we will continue to work to have him appear before the Committee. He owes the American people an explanation.
Senators Pat Toomey and Sherrod Brown respond to Sam Bankman-Fried refusing to testify in person tomorrow:
"He has declined in an unprecedented abdication of accountability." pic.twitter.com/1fMtylAFpR
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) December 12, 2022
Bankman-Fried’s replacement, FTX’s new CEO John Ray III, is still slated to testify before Congress on Tuesday.
In Ray’s prepared remarks, which he released ahead of his testimony, Ray said the FTX collapse “appears to stem from the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are necessary for a company that is entrusted with other people’s money or assets.”