In a highly unusual blog post on Thursday, a month after his arrest on US fraud charges, Sam Bankman-Fried claimed he did not steal money and blamed the failure of his now-bankrupt FTX exchange on Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.
“I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away,” Bankman-Fried wrote in his Substack blog post.
In December, the 30-year-old CEO was accused of executing “one of the largest financial frauds in American history.” He paid $250 million bail and was placed under house arrest in the San Francisco Bay Area at his parents’ home.
Prosecutors claim that Bankman-Fried used FTX client cash to fund the crypto hedge fund Alameda Research. According to authorities, Alameda made a succession of high-risk wagers that failed, all while Bankman-Fried and his associates spent the money on lavish houses and political gifts.
Bankman-Fried argued in previous interviews and again in Thursday’s blog that he was not in charge of Alameda, as authorities believe, and that the firm went bankrupt solely due to severe cryptocurrency market crashes. He claimed that Alameda’s bankruptcy attracted FTX, as it had previously.
“Alameda lost money due to a market crash it was not adequately hedged for — as Three Arrows and others have this year,” he wrote in the post. “And FTX was impacted, as Voyager and others were earlier.”
It’s unclear whether the post was the first of a series or a one-time episode. Legal experts have advised Bankman-Fried to remain silent, but he stated on Thursday, “I have a lot more to say.”