Home / News / Crypto / News / Sam Bankman-Fried: “I Never Thought That What I Was Doing Was Illegal”
4 min read

Sam Bankman-Fried: “I Never Thought That What I Was Doing Was Illegal”

Last Updated April 2, 2024 2:24 PM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated April 2, 2024 2:24 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Even after a 25-year sentence, Sam Bankman-Fried claims he didn’t believe his actions were illegal.
  • This interview is the first time the FTX founder has spoken publicly since his conviction.
  • SBF expresses remorse for damages to customers and his former company and charities.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the once-prominent figure in the crypto world, now embroiled in controversy following a 25-year prison sentence for orchestrating a large-scale fraud, maintained in his first interview from behind bars that he never perceived his actions as unlawful, though he acknowledged their moral ambiguity.

Bankman-Fried told ABC News : “I never thought that what I was doing was illegal, But I tried to hold myself to a high standard, and I certainly didn’t meet that standard.”

The First Interview After The Sentence

During his sentencing last Thursday, March 28, 2024, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan accused Bankman-Fried of perjury and described his testimony as “frequently evasive”. The judge further lamented the absence of any expression of remorse from the defendant for his involvement in egregious crimes.

In response, Bankman-Fried told ABC News that he was, indeed, “deeply remorseful”.

He said: “I’ve heard and seen the despair, frustration and sense of betrayal from thousands of customers; they deserve to be paid in full, at current price. That could and should have happened in November 2022, and it could and should happen today. It’s excruciating to see them waiting, day after day.”

Bankman-Fried also acknowledged the pain felt by his colleagues as he “squandered the fruits of their labor” and by the charities he supported, now grappling with reputational damage instead of financial support.

“Never Intended To Hurt Anyone”

The former CEO of FTX said: “I’m haunted every single day by what was lost. My intentions were never to cause harm or take advantage of anyone’s money.” The disgraced former billionaire bears responsibility for the company’s outcomes, regardless of the underlying reasons for its failures.

He said: “I’d give anything to be able to help repair even part of the damage. I’m doing what I can from prison, but it’s deeply frustrating not to be able to do more.”

During his statement to the court last Thursday, Sam Bankman-Fried, 32, suggested that if he or another FTX employee had remained as CEO, customers would have received reimbursements “long ago”. He attributed the company’s failure to restart the FTX exchange, which he believed could have preserved long-term value.

He said: “There have always been sufficient assets to fully reimburse customers, lenders, and investors at current or historical prices.”

In a court filing  from the previous year, Bankman-Fried accused Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm representing FTX’s new ownership, of collaborating with prosecutors. He also asserted his right to access FTX documents shared with prosecutors. Therefore, on Sunday, Bankman-Fried insinuated that he did not receive a fair trial.

He said: “At the root, SullCrom’s role in the prosecution, the one-sided media frenzy they incited, and the defense’s inability to get in critical evidence at trial, infected the whole process.”

The Sentence

On Thursday, March 28, 2024, FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried received a 25-year sentence for defrauding customers and investors of the FTX crypto exchange.

The 32-year-old former FTX CEO attended the Manhattan courtroom where US District Judge Lewis Kaplan passed sentence. In November, he was convicted in a case prosecutors said was “one of the largest financial frauds in American history”.

In a sentencing memorandum dated March 15, the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan, which filed charges against Bankman-Fried in December 2022, portrayed his recent life as marked by “unparalleled greed and arrogance.” They depicted him as a man driven by ambition, rationalizing his actions while consistently gambling with the funds of others.

Furthermore, numerous FTX customers expressed their frustrations to Judge Kaplan, voicing concerns about their compensation being determined based on the value of their cryptocurrency holdings at the time of FTX’s bankruptcy. They argued that their current market values could potentially be higher.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No