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Legal professionals astonished as SBF admits failures, apologizes 12 times in interview

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried apologized or admitted failure at least 12 times during his appearance at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit on November 30.

In a wide-ranging video interview, Bankman-Fried was asked to answer a number of questions about the demise of the now-defunct exchange, with some even suggesting that some of his statements could be used to incriminate him in lawsuits.

In a November 30 Twitter Postalcrypto attorney Jeremy Hogan, partner at Hogan & Hogan said that the “light cross-examination” of Bankman-Fried at the DealBook Summit has already yielded “at least 3 incriminating statements so far.”

Alan Rosca of the law firm Rosca Scarlato said it was “quite amazing that he was actually testifying at the DealBook Summit. Hard to think of a precedent for this.”

Bankman-Fried’s first concession came while greeting interviewer Andrew Sorkin, when, referring to the collapse of FTX, he said:

“Obviously I made a lot of mistakes or things I would give anything to do again.”

An apology came moments later when Sorkin confronted him with a letter written by an FTX client who lost $2 million in life savings after the stock market crashed.

“I am very sorry for what happened,” Bankman-Fried said in response to the customer’s story.

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Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, during the hour-long live video appearance. Source: New York Times’ DealBook Summit.

Later, when discussing allegations that Alameda used FTX client funds to cover loans, Bankman-Fried said that while he “didn’t know exactly what was going on” at Alameda, he conceded that it was still his duty as FTX HUB is to “make sure I did my due diligence.”

“A lot of these are things that I’ve learned in the last month that I’ve learned […] I mark this as a fairly large oversight that I was no longer aware of,” he said.

Bankman-Fried again admitted failure when questioned about FTX’s former position in the industry and the loss of confidence in crypto now that the stock market has crashed, saying, “I mean, like, look, I messed up.”

“I was CEO, I was the CEO of FTX. And I mean I say it again and again, it means that I had a responsibility which means that I was ultimately responsible for doing the right things and I mean, we didn’t. Like, we messed up.”

He went on to admit FTX’s failings, saying “there were absolutely management failures”, oversight failures and transparency failures.

Towards the end of the interview, Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried directly if he had been honest with the audience and if he agreed that there were times he lied.

Bankman-Fried said he was not aware of any times he lied, but explained that there were times when he asked FTX as a representative or “marketer” that he would “paint FTX as coercive.” […] as possible.”

“I didn’t talk about what the risks are with FTX […] Of course, I wish I had spent more time dwelling on the cons and less time thinking about the pros.

Related: ‘I never opened the code for FTX:’ SBF talks long and honestly with vlogger

Bankman Fried was asked what his lawyers are telling him right now, and whether it’s a good idea for him to speak publicly. He replied “not much.”

“I mean, you know, the classic advice, don’t say anything […] fall into a hole.”

Bankman-Fried said he believes he has a duty to talk to people and explain what happened and to “try to do what’s right.”

“I don’t see what good is achieved by just sitting locked in a room and pretending the outside world doesn’t exist,” he explained.

“Soft-balled it,” says community

While the interview appears to cover a number of confronting issues for Bankman-Fried, some in the community still believe the questions were not challenging enough, nor was there adequate follow-up to some of the tough questions.

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a twitter poll piloted by self-proclaimed crypto trader “Cantering Clark,” found that more than half of the 1,119 respondents believed that Sorkin “softballed” the interview with Bankman-Fried.

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