SBF appearance at the New York Times Dealbook Summit: What were the main points?

By Ceekz | Crypto Essential News | 1 Dec 2022


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(NYT Dealbook Summit Livestream screenshot. Courtesy of NYT.com)

A lot of polemics followed the decision of NYT Dealbook Summit to extend an invitation for SBF to be one of its keynote speakers. It became a matter of concern whether it was acceptable to give a forum and voice to the main perpetrator of the biggest financial fraud in the last decades. FTX mismanagement and fraudulent practices had cost its customers and investors more than $10 billion.

NYT journalist and summit host Andrew Ross Sorkin defended his decision to go forward with the participation of FTX's disgraced CEO as a matter of journalistic integrity and an opportunity to ask all the difficult and important questions in person. As per his Twitter claims "No questions are off limits".

Though at first SBF had confirmed that he would participate in person, he later backtracked and appeared via Livestream from his residence in the Bahamas.

Per the host's introduction attendants and viewers could perceive SBF as "either a young man who made terrible mistakes or a massive fraud"

Here is a detailed summary of the SBF points during the interview:

  1. SBF claimed he made many mistakes, he didn't do a good job as CEO, he would give anything for a chance to fix things.

  2. Defended his position that he never tried to commit financial fraud or defraud anyone.

  3. He claimed he was deeply sorry for customers losing their funds.

  4. FTX COM that is registered in the Bahamas is a different company from FTX US. The funds are there for FTX US users to be made whole.

  5. ‌He didn't know about Alameda co-mingling FTX funds nor did he co-mingle funds knowingly. It was all a massive failure of oversight.

  6. He said Caroline Ellison (Alameda CEO) did use FTX funds to cover leverage.

  7. It was Alameda failures that transferred the risk to FTX.

  8. ‌Accounting errors were to blame for underreporting how big the hole was in Alameda positions.

  9. ‌He claimed he wasn't the one running Alameda and they are separate entities. He wasn't involved in Alameda decision-making processes.

  10. ‌He was nervous when Alameda balance sheet was leaked out on November 2nd. ‌He only knew there was really a problem on November 6 when the Tweet for FTT came out (CZ tweet) and a run on the bank started.

  11. ‌Claimed during the hack or after he didn't have access to the system. Confirms there was a black-hat hack.

  12. Confirmed US authorities & Bahamas government / securities commission made moves to seize assets.

  13. Doubled down that before he filed for Chapter 11 there was an interest in the value of billions for FTX from undisclosed investor(s).

  14. Believed he was pushed to declare bankruptcy although if he hadn't he thinks be might have turned things around.

  15. Thinks there is still a possibility to make clients whole like Bitfinex did.

  16. The real estate and property bought by FTX was meant to facilitate and make it easier for developers and FTX / Alameda staff to move there.

  17. The villa bought and owned by his parents was meant also to be transferred and be FTX property/

  18. There were no wild drug parties in the penthouse they were all staying together. He only took prescription drugs and not for recreation.

  19. His political donations were made to both sides of the aisle, though his Democratic party ones were more into media attention. The money for the donations came from alleged profits.

  20. Claimed media donations were made to promote good and ethical journalism, and not to buy media influence and PR as implied.

In fairness, I believe that Andrew Ross Sorkin did a good job at the interview. At points the questions were soft and he could have pushed harder. On the other hand SBF made a number of self-incriminating claims. US prosecutors could use excerpts from the interview in their case against SBF.

Last, what I found really distasteful, apart from SBF's obvious attempt to take the criminal blame away from him, was the audience. The latter was visibly amused, laughing at SBF remarks like that he "had a very bad month" and clapped him. They looked as if they were completely detached from reality.

In the end it is up to you to believe or not SBF claims.

I don't. No way this was all accounting, oversight, or risk management error. No way he didn't know what was happening with Alameda and that FTX & Alameda funds were co-mingled in breach of the Crypto Exchange's Costumer Terms of Service.

Originally posted on my Leofinance blog.



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Ceekz
Ceekz

Crypto enthusiast. Following tech news, blockchain projects, wider adoption.


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