April 13, 2024

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Sam Bankman-Fried is said to hire defense attorney as FTX gets hit with probes

New York Times DealBook Summit Held In New York City

New York Times DealBook Summit Held In New York City

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images News

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-bankrupt FTX (FTT-USD) cryptocurrency exchange, has hired former federal prosecutor Mark Cohen to represent him, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing an emailed statement from SBF’s spokesperson Mark Botnick.

The ex-FTX CEO, who has yet to be formally charged with any crimes, has retained Cohen as U.S. authorities investigate the implosion of the short-lived crypto empire.

Just days before FTX filed for bankruptcy on November 9, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission launched a probe into whether FTX properly handled customer funds. The failed company is also facing regulatory scrutiny from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office.

Against the usual legal advice, SBF has been quite vocal following FTX’s abrupt downfall, making a number of appearances on media outlets. At the New York Times Dealbook conference last week, the 30-year-old said he “never tried to commit fraud.” Seeking Alpha contributor Victor Haghani raised attention to SBF’s shortage in attention to risk.

Recall in mid-November when ranking members of the House Financial Services Committee called on SBF to appear at a hearing on next week to talk about the demise of FTX, though he expressed that he might not be ready by then.

“Once I have finished learning and reviewing what happened, I would feel like it was my duty to appear before the committee and explain,” SBF wrote in a recent Twitter post. “I’m not sure that will happen by the 13th. But when it does, I will testify.”

Previously, (Dec. 2) Reuters reported that bankruptcy lawyers stand to benefit greatly from crypto turmoil.