Maxine Waters has conveniently declined to subpoena fallen crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried before Congress.
“House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters told Democrats she doesn’t plan to subpoena former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to testify at Tuesday’s hearing about the crypto exchange’s rapid demise, according to people with direct knowledge of the conversation,” NBC reported on Wednesday.
“Waters informed committee members of her decision at a private meeting Tuesday with Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler on Capitol Hill, these people said, declining to be named in order to speak freely about private conversations,” the report added.
“Those at the meeting say Waters said she wants committee staff try to convince Bankman-Fried to voluntarily testify, those with knowledge of the meeting said. As of late Wednesday, Bankman-Fried has yet to agree to voluntarily testify to the House committee, two of the people explained.”
The current SEC Chief Gensler was a professor at MIT where he offered a course on Blockchain and Money which stresses the use of blockchain technology. During his MIT career, Gensler was in close connection with Glenn Ellison and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison is the daughter of Glenn Ellison.
A bizarre Twitter exchange had taken plance on Friday between Sam Bankman-Fried and Rep. Maxine Waters, who sent an awkward tweet thanking the disgraced FTX founder for his public candor, adding, “We would welcome your participation in our hearing on the 13th.”
.@SBF_FTX, we appreciate that you've been candid in your discussions about what happened at #FTX. Your willingness to talk to the public will help the company's customers, investors, and others. To that end, we would welcome your participation in our hearing on the 13th.
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) December 2, 2022
Bankman-Fried then sent a Twitter reply to Waters and her committee, saying he needed to spend time “learning and reviewing what happened” and that he was unsure he could do so in time for the Dec. 13 deadline.
Waters then followed this up with a more pointed exchange on Monday — but still no formal subpoena.
“Based on your role as CEO and your media interviews over the past few weeks, it’s clear to us that the information you have thus far is sufficient for testimony,” Waters tweeted in response to SBF.
Rep. Waters, and the House Committee on Financial Services:
Once I have finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain.
I'm not sure that will happen by the 13th. But when it does, I will testify. https://t.co/c0P8yKlyQt
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) December 4, 2022
“As you know, the collapse of FTX has harmed over one million people,” she continued. “Your testimony would not only be meaningful to Members of Congress, but is also critical to the American people. It is imperative that you attend our hearing on the 13th, and we are willing to schedule continued hearings if there is more information to be shared later.”
Readers on Twitter added helpful context: “Experts say Sam Bankman-Fried may falsely be claiming ignorance to avoid criminal charges.”
Sam Bankman-Fried first captured headlines in the wake of crypto platform FTX’s spectacular fall from grace just two days after the national election.
Bankman-Fried, an enigmatic wunderkind deeply implicated in a multi-billion dollar scam run by his uber-connected girlfriend Caroline Ellison at hedge fund Alameda Research, just so happens to have been the number two donor to the Biden campaign during his successful 2020 election bid. The FTX CEO stood to become the biggest donor to the Democratic Party in 2024 by planning to blow at least a billion dollars on their election.
SBF’s “effective altruism” greased the skids with celebrities ranging from Tom Brady to Larry David (who are suing him) as well as to high-powered politicians like Maxine Waters. It also should be borne in mind that Waters is uncomfortably close to Bankman-Fried, as a recent Fortune article highlights.
“According to a Washington, D.C., source, Waters and her husband, a former ambassador to the Bahamas, have stayed at Maynard-Gibson’s home during visits to the country,” Fortune reports. “(Waters’ press team did not reply to a request for comment about the extent of her ties to Maynard-Gibson and whether this could create a conflict of interest in any congressional investigation she undertakes.) But a closeness between the pair is suggested by a kiss Waters blew at her friend at the end of last year’s hearing. (Some have suggested the kiss was directed at Bankman-Fried, but a careful look at the video shows Maynard-Gibson was the intended recipient.)”
“None of this is meant to say Waters knew FTX was a scam,” the article added. “Like the rest of us, she likely learned the company was rotten only after it collapsed. But her ties to Maynard-Gibson do put her uncomfortably close to the sleazy world of Bahamian politics that helped enable Bankman-Fried in the first place.”
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