FTX and CFTC: Senators Want Communication Details

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United States Senators Elizabeth Warren and Charles Grassley have addressed a letter to Rostin Behnam, the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), seeking clarification regarding his interactions with former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried prior to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. 

The senators indicated their intent to “renew requests” for information regarding these interactions, referencing a previous letter sent by Senator Josh Hawley to Behnam and others.

Meetings with the Former FTX CEO 

In their letter dated April 12, Warren and Grassley emphasized Behnam’s previous testimony before the Senate Agriculture Committee in December. 

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During the hearing, Behnam acknowledged meeting with Bankman-Fried and his team on multiple occasions over the course of 14 months, with a total of 10 meetings held at the CFTC office at the request of FTX.

Expansion of CFTC’s Authorities

Behnam had used the hearing as an opportunity to advocate for expanded authority for the CFTC, emphasizing the need to address regulatory gaps in the federal framework. 

The senators highlighted the importance of Congress and market regulators like the CFTC in safeguarding the savings and retirements of Americans, particularly in light of significant financial crimes such as the collapse of FTX.

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“Safeguarding the savings and retirements of Americans requires Congress and market regulators like the CFTC to determine how this multi-billion-dollar crime was allowed to happen,” the letter read.

Conversations Between CFTC Staff and SBF

The senators’ letter specifically requested detailed accounts of all meetings, phone calls, written correspondence, and conversations between Behnam or CFTC staff and individuals associated with FTX, Alameda, or Sam Bankman-Fried, who was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison.

They also sought a timeline outlining the CFTC’s knowledge of the fraud committed and any proposed or ongoing investigations into the parties involved.

Furthermore, the senators expressed interest in understanding the nature of Behnam’s correspondence with Bankman-Fried prior to the public revelation of his crimes. This inquiry reflects their concern about potential regulatory oversight and enforcement actions leading up to the collapse of FTX.

Congressional Interest in FTX Implosion

Senator Hawley had previously reached out to Behnam, Attorney General Merrick Garland, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler in November, inquiring about investigations or confidential settlements related to FTX or Alameda prior to their collapse. 

This indicates broader congressional interest in understanding the circumstances surrounding the downfall of FTX and associated entities.

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