US lawmaker asks SEC for answers on documents related to Sam Bankman Fried’s arrest

US lawmaker asks SEC for answers on documents related to Sam Bankman Fried’s arrest

The chair of a U.S. House subcommittee overseeing the SEC said that all the documents it had provided about Sam Bankman Fried’s arrest and charges were publicly available at the moment.

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Bill Huizenga of Michigan, the chairman of the United States House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to provide appropriate documents relating to the timing of charges and the arrest of former FTX Chief Executive Officer Sam Bankman Fried or SBF.

Huizenga stated that “100%” of documents the SEC had provided regarding SBF’s arrest and charges were public, indicating an inadequate response by the congressional committee. The lawmaker criticised the SEC for not meeting a deadline of Feb. 24, to provide documents that raised serious questions about the SEC’s process and its cooperation with the Department of Justice in regards to SBF’s charges and arrest.

Huizenga said the documents provided by SEC were little more than briefings to the public on “how SEC and Justice Department collaborated” in SBF’s case. Megan Barbero is the general counsel of the SEC. She countered by saying that the documents were easier to release because they did not “require a commission vote.” Others, however, required a “significant undertaking and process.”

Barbero said, “The difficulty in balancing these concerns is that staff of the committee has given priority to the action memo from the commission. This is precisely the document that contains information that may prejudice both our civil enforcement actions and parallel criminal investigations.”

Other lawmakers, though not always asking the same questions as Huizenga did, referred to FTX and Bankman-Fried when discussing SEC oversight. Pete Sessions, a Texas Representative, asked for more information about a meeting reported between Gary Gensler with SBF. Sessions claimed that the SEC Chair had “personal” access to the former FTX Chief Executive Officer. Texas Rep. Al Green called on the SEC to regulate crypto firms such as FTX that “destroy[ed] investor’s dreams with ignoble scheme[s]” and requested Gensler to testify.

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Bankman-Fried was scheduled to appear before the House Financial Services Committee on December 13, which prompted an SEC investigation. He was based on the Bahamas when FTX declared its bankruptcy in November 2022, and the criminal probe into his alleged misconduct began. Bankman-Fried was arrested in Bahamas before he could testify to Congress. He was then extradited back to the United States.

The authorities are planning to hold two criminal trials against Bankman-Fried. One trial is scheduled to start in October 2023 and the other in March 2024. SBF was also sued by the SEC and Commodity Futures Trading Commission in separate civil cases, but these cases were delayed until after the criminal proceedings had been completed.

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