Sam Bankman-Fried has once again denied he stole funds from FTX customers in his first statement since being arrested on fraud and money laundering charges last month.
“I didn't steal funds, and I certainly didn't stash billions away,” Mr Bankman-Fried wrote in a blog published on Substack on Thursday.
Federal prosecutors have charged the FTX founder with stealing billions of dollars from the crypto exchange to pay debts for his hedge fund Alameda Research, purchase lavish real estate in the Bahamas, and donate millions to political campaigns.
He was arrested in the Caribbean country in December and has since been put under house arrest at his parents' Palo Alto, California, home, on a $250m bond.
Mr Bankman-Fried’s decision to speak out while facing decades behind bars is considered highly unusual, as prosecutors could use his public statements against him at trial.
In the blog post titled “FTX Pre-Mortem Overview,” the 30-year-old did not directly address the criminal charges that he misled investors by plowing billions of dollars to shore up Alameda.
He blamed Alameda’s failure to “sufficiently hedge its market exposure” as crypto prices crashed during 2022, creating a contagion effect that saw FTX go bankrupt.
“As Alameda became illiquid, FTX International did as well, because Alameda had a margin position open on FTX,” Mr Bankman-Fried wrote. “If it were to reboot I believe there is a real chance that customers could be made substantially whole.”
He also blamed Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao for causing an “extreme, quick, targeted crash” that led to FTX’s collapse.
“I had been planning to give my first substantive account of what happened in testimony to the US House Financial Services Committee on December 13th. Unfortunately, the DOJ moved to arrest me the night before, preempting my testimony with an entirely different news cycle. I have a lot more to say... but at least this is a start,” he concluded.
On Thursday, FTX lawyers told a bankruptcy court they had recovered $5bn in assets after initially stating they could only recover $1bn.
Two of FTXs top executives pleaded guilty last month to defrauding investors and are cooperating with prosecutors.
Caroline Ellison, Mr Bankman-Fried’s former girlfriend and CEO of Alameda Research, apologised for her role in the scandal.
Mr Bankman-Fried has maintained his innocence and is due to face trial in October this year.