Legal experts say FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) might have shot himself in the leg following his apology tour during his appearance at the New York Times DealBook Summit on Nov. 30.
SBF apologised or admitted failure at least 12 times during his appearance at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit.
Crypto attorney Jeremy Hogan, Partner at Hogan & Hogan said that the “light cross-examination” of Bankman-Fried at the DealBook Summit has already returned “at least 3 incriminating statements so far.”
Alan Rosca from the law firm Rosca Scarlato said it was said SBF was "in effect testifying at the DealBook summit. Hard to think of a precedent for this.”
Bankman-Fried’s first concession came while greeting interviewer Andrew Sorkin, when he said in reference to the collapse of FTX:
“Clearly, I made a lot of mistakes or things I would give anything to be able to do over again.”
An apology came moments later when Sorkin confronted him with a letter written by an FTX customer who lost $2 million in life savings after the exchange collapsed.
“I’m deeply sorry about what happened,” said Bankman-Fried in response to the customer’s story.
Later, when discussing the allegations that Alameda used FTX client funds to cover loans, Bankman-Fried said that while he “didn’t know exactly what was going on” at Alameda,” he concedes it was still his duty as FTX CEO to “make sure I was doing diligence.”
Bankman-Fried admitted failure again when quizzed about FTXs former standing in the industry and the loss of trust in crypto now that the exchange has collapsed, stating: “I mean, like, look, I screwed up.”
He continued to concede FTX’s failings, stating “there absolutely were management failures” oversight failures, and transparency failures.
Toward the end of the interview, Sorkin directly asked Bankman-Fried whether he had been truthful with the audience and whether he agreed that there had been times that he had lied.
Bankman-Fried said he wasn’t aware of any times that he lied, but explained that there were times when asking as a representative or “marketer” for FTX, that he would paint FTX “as compelling […] as possible.”
Bankman Fried was asked what his lawyers are telling him at the moment, and whether it was a good idea for him to be speaking publicly. He answered “very much not.”
“I mean, you know, the classic advice, don’t say anything […] recede into a hole.”
Bankman-Fried said he believes he has a duty to talk to people and explain what happened and to “try and do what’s right.”
While the interview appeared to cover a number of confronting issues for Bankman-Fried, some in the crypto community still believe that the questions were not challenging enough.
A Twitter poll launched by a self-proclaimed crypto trader “Cantering Clark” found that more than half of the 1,119 respondents believed Sorkin “Soft-balled” the interview with Bankman-Fried.