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FTX CEO Slams Bankman-Fried’s ‘Nonexistent’ Remorse

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FTX’s CEO says Sam Bankman-Fried’s deception didn’t stop with his fraud conviction. 

In a victim impact statement filed Wednesday (March 20) ahead of Bankman-Fried’s sentencing next week, FTX chief executive John Ray writes that the one-time cryptocurrency wunderkind’s contention that his former customers will be repaid in full is false.

“Customers still will never be in the same position they would have been had they not crossed paths with Mr. Bankman-Fried and his so-called brand of ‘altruism,’” Ray wrote.

Ray became CEO of FTX after the crypto exchange declared bankruptcy in November of 2022, and just before Bankman-Fried was charged with masterminding the fraud that led to the company’s downfall.

Convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges last November, the 31-year-old former executive faces decades in prison at his sentencing next week. Federal prosecutors have asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to hand down a sentence of 40 to 50 years. 

In a court filing last week, the prosecution argued that Bankman-Fried showed “unmatched greed and hubris” in using customer funds for risky investments and personal gain, and are seeking $11 billion in forfeiture to compensate for the losses suffered by FTX investors and lenders to Alameda research, the FTX sister company tied to the collapse.

In response, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys argued in a court filing Tuesday (March 19) that the proposed sentencing is based on a “distorted” narrative and a “medieval” view of punishment.

The defense team has already proposed a sentence of no more than six and a half years, and argued in court this week that Bankman-Fried is not a “super-villain.” Defense attorneys also continue to maintain that customers would be made whole.

In his letter to the judge, Ray argued that because creditors will be repaid based on the value of their deposits at the time of FTX’s bankruptcy, their bitcoin would be worth 400% less than the digital currency’s 2024 value.

Ray added that returning value to FTX’s many, many creditors has required “tens of thousands of hours” of sifting through “the rubble of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s sprawling criminal enterprise” to recover the funds.

“And there are plenty of things we did not get back, like the bribes to Chinese officials or the hundreds of millions of dollars he spent to buy access to or time with celebrities or politicians or investments for which he grossly overpaid having done zero diligence,” Ray’s filing said.

“The harm was vast. The remorse is nonexistent. Effective altruism, at least as lived by Samuel Bankman-Fried, was a lie.”