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Sam Bankman-Fried says he didn't steal FTX funds

In a blog post published Thursday, the former FTX CEO tried to explain the collapse of his crypto empire and reiterated that he thinks the company could still be saved.
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Sam Bankman-Fried published an extensive blog post Thursday morning attempting to explain the collapse of FTX, the crypto platform he co-founded, and denying allegations that he stole any funds. 

The blog post is also notable for what allegations it doesn’t touch on, including how FTX customer funds ended up in Alameda Research, the hedge fund he co-founded, and whether funds were misappropriated in the form of loans used to buy property and make political donations

“I didn’t steal funds, and I certainly didn’t stash billions away,” Bankman-Fried wrote in the blog post.

He faces a series of charges including defrauding FTX customers and money laundering connected to the platform’s dramatic collapse last year that culminated in its bankruptcy filing in November.

Bankman-Fried has made a series of public statements and given a variety of interviews since the start of FTX’s troubles, with Thursday’s blog post echoing many of those statements. He has continued to claim that users of the U.S. crypto platform he oversaw, FTX US, should be repaid immediately, arguing that the company was solvent and not financially linked to FTX, which served customers outside the United States.

Unlike previous statements in which he admitted he had made mistakes and took responsibility for the company’s collapse, Bankman-Fried used Thursday’s blog post to lay the blame on a rival crypto scion, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. Binance has pushed back on claims that it sought to harm FTX. 

Bankman-Fried also reiterated that he believes FTX could have survived and still has a chance to become solvent if he were allowed to continue to run the company. NBC News has not verified any of the various balance sheets Bankman-Fried published in the blog post. John Ray, FTX’s new CEO who also oversaw the unwinding of Enron after its fraud-induced collapse, said shortly after taking over that he had little confidence in the veracity of any of the company’s financial statements.

The company recently said it had succeeded in recovering about $5 billion in liquid assets.

Bankman-Fried wrote: “FTX International has many billions of dollars of assets, and I am dedicating nearly all of my personal assets to customers. Further, if it were to reboot I believe that there is a real chance that customers could be made substantially whole.”

The bulk of Bankman-Fried’s blog post goes over a series of events that is by now well documented: the growth of FTX and Alameda, the crypto market’s broad decline and a tweet by Binance CEO Zhao, that would lead to the collapse in price of FTX assets and a subsequent rush by customers to get their money and funds off the platform.

Binance has since faced its own challenges in the crypto market, including customer withdrawals. It is also reportedly facing a Department of Justice investigation, according to Reuters, though no charges have been filed.

In the blog post, Bankman-Fried called the move by Zhao “a targeted attack” on Alameda. He also compared his company’s collapse to other crypto exchanges that have declared bankruptcy in the past year. Alex Mashinsky, the founder of Celsius Network, which declared bankruptcy in July, was sued last week by the New York attorney general over allegations of defrauding customers. Mashinsky has denied those allegations.