Bankman-Fried, facing increasing pressure, said on Twitter that he would testify at the hearing scheduled for Tuesday. He did not specify if he would testify virtually or in person, and he preemptively said there would be a limit to what he would be able to say.
The former billionaire has remained in his residence in the Bahamas since the stunning collapse of his cryptocurrency empire last month, fueling speculation that he won’t leave the island nation out of fear he would be arrested. Notably, he didn’t comment on a similar request to testify from the Senate Banking Committee.
“I still do not have access to much of my data — professional or personal. So there is a limit to what I will be able to say, and I won’t be as helpful as I’d like,” he wrote in a tweet. “But as the committee still thinks it would be useful, I am willing to testify on the 13th.”
Bankman-Fried listed what he would discuss in his testimony as “FTX US’s solvency and American customers,” “Pathways that could return value to users internationally,” “What I think led to the crash,” and “My own failings.”
His announcement is an about-face from Sunday, when he appeared to decline to testify to the House Financial Services Committee, as was being sought.
“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,” he wrote in response to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the chairwoman of the committee. “I’m not sure that will happen by the 13th. But when it does, I will testify.”
Attached to the tweet was a disclaimer from other Twitter users, saying, “Experts say Sam Bankman-Fried may falsely be claiming ignorance to avoid criminal charges.”
The Senate Banking Committee is also looking to have Bankman-Fried testify before it, and it has even floated the possibility of a subpoena to force his testimony, the New York Times reported.
The collapse of FTX last month has prompted investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, as well as the House Financial Services and Senate Banking committees. The investigations are attempting to uncover whether or not Bankman-Fried or his affiliates knowingly committed fraud in the lead-up to the collapse.