Disgraced Democrat megadonor Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO who ran his company into the ground and has been accused of substantial wrongdoing, testified on Wednesday night — not before a jury of his peers in court, but in a paid appearance at the New York Times' DealBook Summit.
The event — where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shot down a peace proposal, script-reader Ben Affleck humble-bragged about his fame, and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended his company's forays into the so-called metaverse — provided Bankman-Fried with an opportunity to complain about his recent misfortune and to displace blame about the role he played in the scandalous collapse of his crypto exchange, FTX.
What are the details?
Bankman-Fried telecommuted from the Bahamas, where he, his parents, and other FTX executives reportedly own at least $121 million in real estate, to field questions posed by New York Times columnist Andrew Sorkin.
Throughout the interview, SBF alternated between assuming and shunting responsibility for FTX's downfall.
In one instance, SBF indicated that FTX's implosion was resultant of "a massive failure of oversight on my part."
"Whatever happened, why it happened, I had a duty to our stakeholders, our customers, our investors, the regulators of the world, to do right by them," said SBF. "Clearly I didn’t do a good job of that."
Despite this admission, SBF went onto distance himself from his trading firm, Alameda Research, linked to FTX and its demise.
SBF said regarding the relationship between FTX and Alameda Research that he "wasn't running Alameda, I don't know exactly what was going on."
“I didn’t knowingly commingle funds,” SBF added.
Some, including Alex Berenson, find that hard to believe, particularly since SBF owned the lion's share of Alameda.
Decrypt reported that the blockchain data suggests the funds were commingled. Billions of dollars' worth of customer funds had reportedly been loaned out to Alameda to pay down the firm's trading losses while SBF was running the show.
SBF also claimed that he "didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone."
Bloomberg noted that, notwithstanding SBF's claims on Wednesday, there are outstanding questions about how FTX ended up with an $8 billion gap in its balance sheets.
When Sorkin asked about criminal liability, SBF squirmed uncontrollably and said, "There’s a time and a place for me to think about myself and my own future. ... I don't think this is it."
Without admitting to a crime, SBF did however underscore that he "screwed up."
The New York Times suggested that throughout the discussion, SBF sought to characterize the situation as an unintentional mistake, "perhaps hoping to set up lack of intent for (criminal) liability purposes."
Tough luck and good sleep for the 'next Warren Buffett'
In an apparent effort to drum up sympathy, SBF — who managed to lose approximately 94% of his estimated $15.6 billion on Election Day — told Sorkin, "Look, I've had a bad month."
SBF, once touted as the "next Warren Buffett," told Sorkin that he now has "close to nothing" and had been reduced to only having one working credit card.
Despite his bad month, SBF said, "You would’ve thought that I’d be getting no sleep right now, and instead I’m getting some."
An alleged FTX user who likely isn't getting much sleep had his message relayed to SBF by Sorkin.
In an email with "Sam Bankman-Fried stole $2 million from me" in the subject line, the user wrote, "Andrew, can you please ask SBF why he decided to steal my life savings and the $10 billion more from customers to give to his hedge fund, Alameda?"
Noting that several other letters like this had been sent in, Sorkin asked SBF, "What do you tell this man?"
SBF, down to only one credit card, said that he was "deeply sorry about what happened."
The New York Times reported that among the demonstrators gathered outside the event to protest SBF's appearance was a man who identified himself as Anthony Canelo of New York, who claimed to have lost over $10,000 investing in FTX's token, FTT.
While the bankruptcy filing drawn up by FTX indicated that the company has over 100,000 creditors, CNBC reported that there could be more than one million creditors.
Although some critical of SBF's appearance appeared to protest outside the venue, many instead took to social media to express their disdain.
American Fox Business Network financial journalist Charles Payne found it troubling that SBF should be applauded in and out of a high-profile paid speaking gig after his company's collapse left creditors facing losses exceeding billions of dollars. Payne tweeted, "The 'elites' protect their own even under a microscope."
Republican Rep. Lance Gooden (Texas) suggested that the left appears more outraged by Elon Musk spending billions to restore free speech on Twitter than by SBF's erasure of billions.
Turning Point USA President Charlie Kirk noted that had SBF been "the 2nd biggest donor to conservative candidates in the midterms he would be indicted by now."
The whole New York Times interview with the Democrat megadonor can be seen here:
Sam Bankman-Fried Interviewed Live About the Collapse of FTXyoutu.be