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Senators Warren and Grassley Demand Transparency from CFTC Chair Over Communications with Sam Bankman-Fried

U.S. Senator demands full disclosure regarding CFTC's dealings with FTX

Amid ongoing scrutiny over FTX's collapse, Senators Warren and Grassley call on CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam to disclose details of his interactions with the company’s former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.

Key takeaways:

  • Senators are requesting a full disclosure of communications between CFTC Chair Rostin Behnam and Sam Bankman-Fried.
  • The demand includes details of meetings and messages over a 14-month period.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have intensified their demands for accountability from Rostin Behnam, head of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), regarding his documented interactions with Sam Bankman-Fried, the now-convicted former CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. The senators have formally requested an exhaustive summary of all correspondences and meetings between Behnam and Bankman-Fried during Behnam's tenure.

"An accounting of all meetings and correspondence between you and Sam Bankman-Fried during your tenure," was specifically requested in a letter sent to Behnam, as FTX officials, including Bankman-Fried, had reportedly met with CFTC representatives up to 10 times at the agency. Behnam himself admitted to lawmakers in 2022 that he exchanged "a number of messages'' with Bankman-Fried, who was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for significant financial fraud related to FTX's operations.

Ongoing investigations and regulatory scrutiny

The scrutiny over Behnam’s interactions with Bankman-Fried is part of broader inquiries into the regulatory lapses that might have allowed the FTX saga to unfold. Behnam’s engagements were partly due to FTX's attempts to position its LedgerX division uniquely in the derivatives trading market—a plan that ultimately fell through. The CFTC and Behnam have faced questions in Senate hearings, with further records requested regarding their communications with FTX, other government bodies, and the White House.

Steven Adamske, a spokesman for the CFTC, responded to the recent inquiries, stating:

"We just received these letters, so we will work with the office to get them the information they need." 

This ongoing situation mirrors concerns raised about the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) pre-collapse interactions with FTX, spotlighting the need for regulatory clarity and accountability in the crypto market.