SBF: 'I'm Haunted, Every Day, by What Was Lost'

'I never thought that what I was doing was illegal,' says FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2024 8:07 AM CDT
A 'Haunted' SBF Talks Trial, Appeal, and His Remorse
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves Federal court on July 26, 2023, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Held up in Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center, Sam Bankman-Fried at least has access to email, which he used to communicate with ABC News over the weekend, detailing his remorse for defrauding investors out of $8 billion. "I'm haunted, every day, by what was lost," said the 32-year-old former CEO of imploded cryptocurrency exchange FTX, just sentenced to 25 years in prison. "It's most of what I think about each day." Though the judge said Bankman-Fried never conveyed "a word of remorse for the commission of terrible crimes," the 32-year-old said, "I've heard and seen the despair, frustration and sense of betrayal from thousands of customers" who "deserve to be paid in full, at current price." "It's excruciating to see them waiting, day after day," he added.

In court, Bankman-Fried claimed investors would've been repaid "long ago" had he remained as CEO or appointed another FTX employee to restart the exchange. Instead, a bankruptcy litigator was appointed CEO after FTX filed for bankruptcy and Bankman-Fried resigned in November 2022. In the ABC interview, Bankman-Fried blamed Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm representing FTX's new ownership, for working with prosecutors. He suggested he wasn't given a fair trial because he wasn't shown FTX documents shared through that process. "At the root, SullCrom's role in the prosecution, the one-sided media frenzy they incited, and the defense's inability to get in critical evidence at trial, infected the whole process," he said, reiterating an argument shot down by the judge.

Bankman-Fried also claimed trial testimony "greatly misstated what actually happened" and said his lawyers were "not allowed to introduce crucial evidence or put on important witnesses." Still, Bankman-Fried admitted FTX's insolvency resulted from several "bad decisions" he made in 2022. Bankman-Fried was found to have funneled $8 billion in FTX investments to failing hedge fund Alameda Research. "I never thought that what I was doing was illegal. But I tried to hold myself to a high standard, and I certainly didn't meet that standard," he said. "I never intended to hurt anyone or take anyone's money. But I was the CEO of FTX, I was responsible for what happened to the company and when you're responsible it doesn't matter why it goes bad." (More Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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