United States House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters has tweeted that a subpoena is "definitely on the table" for Sam Bankman-Fried, the former FTX CEO who is now being requested to testify at two separate congressional hearings.
In a Dec. 8 tweet, Waters refuted a CNBC report suggesting that she wasn’t planning to subpoena Bankman-Fried to testify at the upcoming House Committee hearing on Dec. 13, as she wanted him to testify voluntarily.
The U.S. lawmaker said “lies are circulating” that she wasn’t willing to subpoena Bankman-Fried, confirming that a “subpoena is definitely on the table.”
Waters had first requested the former FTX CEO to appear at the Dec. 13 inquiry via a Twitter post on Dec. 3.
Bankman-Fried however seemingly rejected the invitation a day later on Dec. 4, saying he won’t appear before the committee until he’s “finished learning and reviewing what happened” and he’s “not sure” if that would happen in time for the hearing.
This was despite Bankman-Fried appearing in multiple media interviews discussing the collapse of FTX.
Citing these appearances, Waters pushed back at the FTX founders’ excuse, saying on Dec. 5 that the information he has shown to know is already “sufficient for testimony.”
"It is imperative that you attend our hearing," Waters added, saying that the committee was "willing to schedule continued hearings if there is more information to be shared later."
If issued a subpoena, Bankman-Fried will be compelled to testify at the hearing. Failure to do so could result in him being held in contempt of Congress, a criminal offense with a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a fine of $100,000.
The hearing on Dec. 13, titled "Investigating the Collapse of FTX," is expected to be the first in a series of similar hearings regarding the collapse of the exchange, with individuals and companies involved with FTX, Alameda Research and Binance slated to appear.
Another hearing, another subpoena?
Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried has also been called to appear and testify in person before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs for a Dec. 14 hearing titled: “Crypto Crash: Why the FTX Bubble Burst and the Harm to Consumers.”
A Dec. 7 letter from Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown warned Bankman-Fried that:
“You must answer for the failure of both entities that was caused, at least in part, by the clear misuse of client funds and wiped out billions of dollars owed to over a million creditors.”
“There are still significant unanswered questions about how client funds were misappropriated, how clients were blocked from withdrawing their own money, and how you orchestrated a cover-up,” Brown’s letter reads.
Brown wrote that witnesses invited to appear before the committee “make themselves available voluntarily” and if Bankman-Fried chooses not to appear then he is prepared “to issue a subpoena to compel your testimony.”
Update (Dec. 8, 3:05 AM UTC): Added further background information regarding the House Committee hearing along with updates on Sam Bankman-Fried being called to appear at a Senate Committee on FTX.