House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters said in a tweet on Wednesday that a subpoena for FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried to testify “is definitely on the table” at a Dec. 13 hearing about the dive bomb his crypto exchanged experienced last month, despite reports indicating she had no plans to subpoena him.
Still, the tweet from Waters did not say Bankman-Fried will be subpoenaed, but instead “has been requested to testify.” Bankman-Fried is currently in the Bahamas.
CNBC reported on Wednesday that Waters told Democrats she has no plans to subpoena Bankman-Fried, during a private meeting on Tuesday with Gary Gensler, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman.
Those with knowledge of the conversation declined to be named, according to the report, but said Waters wants to see if the committee can get Bankman-Fried to testify on his own.
Bankman-Fried faces a barrage of legal repercussions over his involvement in the collapse of FTX, which led him to file for bankruptcy in November.
A full-fledged liquidity crisis forced FTX to file for bankruptcy, and Bankman-Fried’s wealth, which was estimated to be $15.6 billion just before the declaration, plummeted to the point of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimating he had no material wealth.
He became a billionaire after creating FTX, as well as a subject of media fascination. Bankman-Fried was also a philanthropist and donated to causes that address issues like pandemics and climate change, along with donations to Democrats and liberal PACs.
With those donations, he became a major player in Washington.
Waters, a Democrat, will lose her post as leader of the committee on Jan. 3, 2023, as Republicans take control of the House of Representatives.
Once that power transitions to Rep. Patrick McHenry, it will be on him to decide whether to subpoena Bankman-Fried to testify in the next session if he declines to do so on his own.
CNBC reported that Waters invited the FTX CEO to testify voluntarily, though she has the option to change her mind and subpoena him before Tuesday.
Waters told Bankman-Fried in a series of tweets that the information he has as CEO is sufficient for a testimony, and not only would it be “meaningful” to the members of Congress, but “critical” to the American people.
“Once I have finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain,” Bankman-Fried replied. “I’m not sure that will happen by the 13th, but when it does, I will testify.”