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U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Charles Grassley Demand CFTC Chair Rostin Benham Explain Ties To Sam Bankman-Fried

Julia Smith
Last updated: | 2 min read
The U.S. flag covered in cryptocurrencies.

United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) have demanded that Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Rostin Benham disclose details of his interactions with disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried prior to the exchange’s collapse, according to an April 12 letter addressed to Benham.

U.S. Senators Request Chats Between Rostin Benham and Sam Bankman-Fried

In Grassley and Warren’s letter, the senators requested Benham provide a “full accounting of all meetings, phone calls, and written correspondence between you and/or your staff and Mr. Bankman-Fried and/or his staff” as well as a “full accounting of all conversations about Mr. Bankman-Fried, FTX, Alameda, or any associated executives involving you or any CFTC employee.”

In addition, Grassley and Warren want the CFTC to provide a timeline of the commission’s knowledge of the cryptocurrency scheme concerning Bankman-Fried, Alameda Research and former executives of the now-doomed crypto exchange.

According to Benham’s testimony to the Senate Agriculture Committee in November 2022 following FTX’s collapse, the CFTC Chair reportedly met with Bankman-Fried an estimated 10 times over a 14-month period. During that same testimony, Benham admitted exchanging “a number” of messages with the former “king of crypto.”

Last month, Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. He was ordered to pay $11 billion for his role in the massive crypto scam that saw nearly $8 billion worth of customer funds blown on real estate, political donations, and venture investments.

“This punishment, while appropriate, provided cold comfort for his victims, who will never be made whole financially,” the senators’ letter read. “Safeguarding the savings and retirements of Americans requires Congress and market regulators like the CFTC to determine how this multi-billion-dollar crime was allowed to happen.”

Elizabeth Warren and Charles Grassley Renew Interest In FTX Ties

Grassley and Warren’s letter parallels one written by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) in November 2022 to Attorney General Merrick Garland, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler, and Benham demanding they reveal their correspondence between their agencies and top Democratic Party officials.

“The perpetrators of these criminal acts and their enablers must be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and you must conduct a full conflict-of-interest review to ensure that Mr. Bankman-Fried’s status as a top donor to the Democratic Party did not insulate him from oversight and accountability,” Hawley stated.

In light of the crypto scandal, Bankman-Fried has faced criticism for his apparent schmoozing of high-profile regulatory officials, including Gensler, in a perceived attempt to keep FTX in their good graces.

He privately told Vox reporter Kelsey Piper that his apparent concern for crypto regulation was “just PR,” however, going so far as to say “f-ck regulators.”

Bankman-Fried has since filed to appeal his guilty verdict, but given the sheer scale of the evidence against him, he will likely face an uphill battle.

The latest letter from U.S. lawmakers to Benham marks a renewed interest in uncovering ties between government officials and Bankman-Fried.