The Highly Suspect Timing of SBF’s Arrest (UPDATED)
Did the government issue a warrant for Sam Bankman-Fried ‘s arrest to forestall him from giving testimony before Congress that might harm the Biden Administration?
Cryptocurrency, the name given to pixels that are privately “owned” and not directly tied to any underlying wealth, has always seemed, to me at least, a post-modernist fantasy. And with lax — if any — regulatory enforcement, crypto-currency has always seemed an arena ripe for fraud. Thus, it was not a surprise that one of the world’s largest frauds should come out of the cryptocurrency markets with the fall of the businesses headed by Sam Bankman-Fried, the Crypto Boy-wonder. On the face of what we know, he seems to have committed fraud in the billions of dollars.
But there was and is a problem with going after Bankman-Fried. First, he was a Democrat mega-donor, donating $40 million to Democrats last election cycle — but note that Elon Musk thinks it’s actually over $1 billion:
That’s just the publicly disclosed number. His actual support of Dem elections is probably over $1B. The money went somewhere, so where did it go?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 3, 2022
Second, before his bankruptcy, Democrats in Congress and the regulatory bureaucracies lauded and protected Bankman-Fried.
Third, and most explosively, Bankman-Fried seems to have been funding his donations to the Democrat Party partly from money laundering our tax dollars out of Ukraine.
There was a real question in my mind whether progressives holding power in D.C. would ever allow Bankman-Fried to be honestly prosecuted for his crimes. Such a prosecution, if done in good faith, would likely prove very problematic for the Biden Administration.
That said, Bankman-Fried, for the past month, has been on a publicity tour to proclaim his innocence in the court of public opinion. Any lawyer worth his salt representing Bankman-Fried would strongly oppose his client engaging in such a tour. Even in the most friendly of interviews, there was always the chance that Bankman-Fried might make an admission against interest. As for any prosecutor conducting a good faith investigation of Bankman-Fried for fraud, his only possible response to this tour is to think to himself, “This is wonderful. More interviews, BF. More. Don’t let anyone shut you up.” That is because, under the Federal Rules of Evidence, any out-of-court statement made by Bankman-Fried could not be introduced by him in his defense — it would be inadmissible hearsay — but any of his out-of-court statements could be introduced by the prosecution as an exception to the hearsay rule — that Bankman-Fried said something that established his guilt.
In the past month, we have seen the progressive media conduct one softball interview after another with Bankman-Fried as they ran defense for him. And still, Bankman-Fried has made admissions against interest that might sink him for criminal fraud in a court of law.
But the real danger to the Biden administration would be Bankman-Fried being forced to answer hostile questions about his fraud, about Ukrainian money laundering, and about the way Democrat politicians and regulators protected him. That would have happened if Bankman-Fried testified before the House Financial Services Committee, as he appeared poised to do, perhaps as early as tomorrow.
Based on your role as CEO and your media interviews over the past few weeks, it’s clear to us that the information you have thus far is sufficient for testimony. (1/3) https://t.co/YUVVjOkC40
— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) December 5, 2022
From the perspective of a prosecutor, there would have been no possible downside to staying Bankman-Fried’s arrest until after he testified before Congress. None. And yet… just hours ago:
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas at the behest of U.S. prosecutors on Monday, the day before he was due to testify before Congress about the abrupt failure last month of one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
The arrest marks a stunning fall from grace for the 30-year-old entrepreneur widely known by his initials SBF, who rode a boom in bitcoin and other digital assets to become a billionaire many times over until FTX’s rapid demise. . . .
Folks, this timing stinks to high heaven. This is yet another act by a DOJ that is completely politicized to the point that it should be liquidated and the earth below it salted. This arrest is all about shutting up Bankman-Fried and controlling the narrative. Bastards.
Update: This morning, the NY Post reports:
A bipartisan duo of lawmakers Monday night questioned the wisdom of arresting disgraced crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried the day before he was set to testify before Congress about the collapse of his FTX exchange.
The 30-year-old FTX founder was nabbed by authorities in the Bahamas Monday night after criminal charges were filed against him by US prosecutors.
But Bankman-Fried’s sudden arrest means the shaggy-haired former billionaire will be exempt from testifying at Tuesday’s House Financial Services Committee.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) was among those to criticize the timing of his detainment, tweeting that House Republicans had been “ready to grill him six ways to Sunday” on the failure of one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
“Tomorrow, Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify in front of the House Financial Services Committee … Now breaking tonight, SBF was just arrested!” Zeldin wrote.
“Why not allow him to 1st testify tomorrow and answer our many questions?”
This kind of political debasement of our laws should be immediately punished with firing and disbarment. Unfortunately, in our post-modernist America, the partisans at DOJ will never pay a price.
Crypto crook, the second biggest Democrat donor, indicted just in time to stop his public congressional testimony scheduled for todayhttps://t.co/0Q2gwqmo1X
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) December 13, 2022
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Image: Sam Bankman-Fried just before his empire collapsed (edited). YouTube screen grab.