SBF Taps Ghislaine Maxwell Attorney in FTX Case

FTX, bankruptcy court

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried hired a top New York defense lawyer to represent him.

How he plans to pay for that defense, the former crypto exchange CEO said Tuesday (Dec. 6), is still unclear.

“In terms of paying legal fees, I’m still working that out,” Bankman-Fried said during a Twitter Spaces interview, confirming reports that he had hired Mark S. Cohen, who represented convicted high-profile sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell.

“I’m not sure if I will be able to pay all the legal fees,” Bankman-Fried added.

Once worth a reported $32 billion, Bankman-Fried — or SBF, to use his Twitter handle — saw his fortune dramatically reduced following FTX’s collapse last month. As the company’s implosion unfolded, reports emerged that Bankman-Fried had apparently used customer funds to prop up Alameda Research, FTX’s sister company.

The downfall of his company has left Bankman-Fried facing questions from regulators in the U.S. and overseas. Though not charged with any crimes, he has repeatedly apologized for what happened to his company.

He has also not been shy about publicity, as PYMNTS wrote last week after Bankman-Fried spoke to Andrew Ross Sorkin, founder of The New York Times’ DealBook, in a virtual appearance at the Times’ DealBook Summit.

In that interview, Bankman-Fried said he didn’t “knowingly co-mingle funds,” speaking only of “a lack of oversight” and “pretty big mistakes I’m embarrassed to have made,” while insisting to Sorkin that he “wasn’t running Alameda,” and seemingly placing much of the blame on Caroline Ellison, Alameda’s co-CEO.

Earlier this week, Bankman-Fried spoke out again, this time on Twitter, where he told U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) that he planned to testify before the House Financial Services Committee — which she chairs — although not necessarily at the scheduled Dec. 13 hearing.

“Once I have finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain,” wrote Bankman-Fried. “I’m not sure that will happen by the 13th.  But when it does, I will testify.”