Two Democratic members of the United States Senate have called on the Justice Department to investigate the FTX collapse and potentially prosecute individuals involved in wrongdoing.
In a Nov. 23 letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse requested The Department of Justice has launched a “highest scrutiny” investigation into the fall of the FTX crypto exchange. Lawmakers cited the impact that the fall of a major firm in the crypto space had on related companies — lending companies including Genesis and BlockFi halts trading — and funds that retail FTX investors may not get back.
Senators specifically called out former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried for his role in the controversy, including his since-deleted tweet that funds were “okay” on the stock exchange and attempts to play down concerns about the company’s liquidity problems. Warren and Whitehouse echoed the characterizations of FTX management from the firm’s bankruptcy proceedings, which he referred to Bankman-Fried and others as “inexperienced and unsophisticated”.
“FTX’s downfall was not simply the result of negligent business and management practices, but rather appears to have been caused by deliberate and fraudulent tactics used by Mr. Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives to enrich themselves,” the letter said. “We urge the Department to focus its investigations on these ‘flesh and blood victims’ and, if deemed necessary, prosecute the individuals responsible for their harm.”
It’s unclear whether the Justice Department intends to open an investigation into FTX, but global financial regulators and lawmakers have taken action following the stock market crash. In the Bahamas – where Bankman-Fried and many FTX executives were based at the time of publication – financial investigators and Bahamian securities regulators were allegedly investigating possible crimes. Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Bureau also announced on November 14 that it did launched an investigation to individuals and entities associated with FTX.