Republicans and Democrats alike appeared disappointed that the arrest of FTX co-founder Samuel Bankman-Fried took place the day before he was set to testify before the House Financial Services Committee.
Bankman-Fried, is accused of diverting money from customers of the cryptocurrency trading platform to his crypto hedge fund Alameda Research and then using that money for personal use. He was supposed to answer questions about FTX’s collapse after the company lost billions of dollars of customers’ money, and committee chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters was “surprised” and disappointed that this plan got thrown off course.
“It’s about time the process to bring Mr. Bankman-Fried to justice has begun. However, as the public knows, my staff and I have been working diligently for the past month to secure Mr. Bankman-Fried’s testimony before our Committee tomorrow morning,” Waters said in a statement Monday following Bankman-Fried’s arrest. She added that her office had gotten confirmation that afternoon that Bankman-Fried was still planning to testify, “but then he was arrested” and now that is no longer happening.
“The public has been waiting eagerly to get these answers under oath before Congress, and the timing of this arrest denies the public this opportunity,” Waters said.
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Republicans were also dismayed by the decision to make the arrest right before the hearing. Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, said he shared Waters’ feelings on the matter during a Fox News appearance.
“I don’t understand why the Justice Department would not want him on record today and potentially tomorrow in a Senate hearing spilling his guts,” Gooden said. “It’s very frustrating.”
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Another Republican, Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., spoke out against the timing of the arrest during a Fox Business appearance Tuesday morning.
“The timing is just unbelievable,” Loudermilk said. “Hours before he was actually going to make an appearance before congressional committee he is arrested.”
Loudermilk said that he doubts “that his attorneys are going to let him testify at all” at this point.
Fellow GOP House member Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York tweeted about the situation Monday night.
“Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee. @HouseGOP was ready to grill him six ways to Sunday. Now breaking tonight, SBF was just arrested!” Zeldin said. “Why not allow him to 1st testify tomorrow and answer our many questions?”
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Zeldin’s fellow New Yorker, Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also tweeted about the timing of the arrest, saying she was “disappointed we will not have the opportunity to present our line of questioning[.]”
Tuesday’s hearing ultimately took place without Bankman-Fried, featuring testimony from current FTX CEO John Ray III.
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