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US lawmakers ask DOJ hold FTX execs accountable ‘to the fullest extent of the law’

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“The fall of FTX was not simply a result of sloppy business and management practices, but rather appears to have been caused by intentional and fraudulent tactics,” said the letter.

Two Democratic members of the United States Senate have called on the Justice Department to investigate the collapse of FTX and potentially prosecute individuals involved in wrongdoing.

In a Nov. 23 letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse requested the Justice Department launch an investigation into crypto exchange FTX’s downfall with the “utmost scrutiny.” The lawmakers cited the impact the collapse of a major firm in the crypto space had had on related companies — lending companies including Genesis and BlockFi halting trading — and funds which FTX retail investors may not recover.

The senators specifically called out former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried for his role in the controversy, including his deleted tweet that funds were “fine” at the exchange and attempts to downplay concerns about the firm’s liquidity issues. Warren and Whitehouse echoed characterizations of FTX’s management from the firm’s bankruptcy proceedings, which referred to Bankman-Fried and others as “inexperienced and unsophisticated.”

“The fall of FTX was not simply a result of sloppy business and management practices, but rather appears to have been caused by intentional and fraudulent tactics employed by Mr. Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives to enrich themselves,” said the letter. “We urge the Department to center these ‘flesh-and-blood victims’ as it investigates, and, if it deems necessary, prosecute the individuals responsible for their harm.”

Related: US Sen. Elizabeth Warren says crypto will ruin economy — Community responds

It’s unclear if the Justice Department intends to launch an investigation into FTX, but global financial regulators and lawmakers have taken action following the exchange’s collapse. In the Bahamas — where Bankman-Fried and many FTX executives were based at the time of publication — financial investigators and the Bahamas securities regulators were reportedly investigating possible criminal misconduct. Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Agency also announced on Nov. 14 it had launched an investigation into individuals and entities associated with FTX.

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