Former FTX CEO SBF Claims He Unknowingly Commingled Funds

  • Sam Bankman-Fried held an interview with the New York Times, during which he pushed the narrative that FTX’s collapse was caused by bad risk management and the crypto market crash.
  • SBF also claimed the he had “unknowingly commingled funds” between Alameda and customer funds at FTX, which was the result of his poor oversight of the company.


The ex-CEO of now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), made his first public appearance since the collapse of the company during the New York Times DealBook Summit on 30 November.

SBF held an hour-long interview with NYT journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin via video conference, during which he once again offered his apology for the fall of the exchange, and answered several questions connected to the FTX empire. The ex-CEO, however, appeared to be pushing the narative that the collapse of the company was caused by an untimely market crash and and bad risk management, and that he had not committed any crimes knowingly. When asked if he had commited fraud, SBF answered:

“Clearly, I made a lot of mistakes or things I would give anything to be able to do over again. I didn’t ever try to commit fraud on anyone. I, I was excited about the prospects of FTX a month ago. I saw it as a driving, growing business. I was shocked by what happened this month.”

During the interview, Sorkin asked SBF whether he had improperly taken customer funds from FTX and then lend then to its sister company Alameda Research, despite FTX’s terms-of-service stating that customer’s digital assets were not FTX’s property. SBF, however, denied knowing about the commingled funds at the time, and blamed the risky market positions Alameda held with FTX on poor oversight. He also deflected the blame for the actions of Alameda Research by claiming he “didn’t know exactly” what was happening with the company as he was not running it.

“I didn’t knowingly commingle funds. I was frankly surprised by how big Alameda’s position was, which points to another failure of oversight on my part. And a failure to appoint someone to be chiefly in charge of that. But I wasn’t trying to commingle funds.”

When the relationship between FTX and Alameda came to question, SBF noted that it had decreased significantly over time considering Alameda was responsible for 45% of the volume of FTX in 2019, while in 2022 it was only about 2%. When asked if he was concerned about criminal liability, SBF answered that he doesn’t personally think so, and that is not what he is focused on at the moment.

Sorkin also pressed the ex-CEO on the funds that went missing from FTX shortly after it had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. SBF noted that he was being cut off from FTX’s systems at the time, and that all he knew was that FTX.US and The Bahamas had both received a part of those funds, and that there was an “actual improper access” for which he could not provide details.

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November 3, 2023, 8:54 AM

Former CEO of FTX Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the Federal Court in New York after pleading not guilty, 3 January, 2022.
lev radin/Shutterstock

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