Sam Bankman-Fried denies intentional illegality, talks failed standards from Brooklyn jail

The ex-crypto entrepreneur admits several "bad decisions" in 2022 led to FTX's insolvency.

sbf prison statement

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Fallen crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) has made his first statement since being sentenced for involvement in one of the biggest financial frauds in American history. The former CEO of FTX claimed he didn’t believe his actions were illegal but acknowledged they fell short of his own ethical standards.

‘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,” SBF told ABC News from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

It was not the first time SBF presented himself as someone who didn’t intend to break the law. Testifying in court last October, he denied any wrongdoing in the relationship between crypto exchange FTX and Alameda Research despite acknowledging that FTX’s collapse had hurt many people.

Judge Lewis Kaplan, who was assigned to SBF’s crypto case, said during his sentencing on Thursday that SBF never showed any remorse for the harm caused by his crimes. However, in his email to ABC News on Sunday, the disgraced mogul said “of course” he is remorseful.

SBF claimed that he is “haunted” by his actions and is deeply sorry for the damage caused.

“I’m haunted, every day, by what was lost. I never intended to hurt anyone or take anyone’s money. But I was the CEO of FTX, I was responsible for what happened to the company, and when you’re responsible it doesn’t matter why it goes bad. 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,” said SBF.

SBF said he understands the pain and frustration of FTX customers who lost money, arguing they deserve full repayment “at [the] current price.”

SBF reiterated that his trial was unfair because the law firm representing FTX, Sullivan & Cromwell (S&C), allegedly worked with prosecutors and limited access to evidence for his defense. The law firm was previously sued by FTX creditors for its involvement in a civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting fraud and fiduciary breaches, and engaging in a RICO enterprise.

A spokesperson for S&C denies these accusations, telling ABC News that the judge already addressed this and found Bankman-Fried lied in court.

SBF revealed that his defense team plans to appeal the conviction. He claimed trial testimony misrepresented events, and his defense was restricted from presenting crucial evidence, though he didn’t provide further details.

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