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Michigan Representative Bill Huizenga, who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) not to release relevant documents regarding the timing of the charges and arrest of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman. Fried.
At a June 22 Securities and Exchange Commission oversight hearing, Rep. Huizenga stated that “100% of the documents filed by the commission on the SBF charges and arrest were publicly available, indicating an inadequate response to the congressional committee.” The lawmaker criticized the SEC for failing to meet the February 24 deadline to release documents that allegedly raise “serious questions about the SEC’s process and cooperation with the Department of Justice” regarding the SBF charges and arrest.
Rep. Huizenga suggested that the documents provided by the SEC included nothing more than public briefings on “how the SEC and the DOJ worked together” in the SBF case. Megan Barbero, general counsel for the SEC, countered that providing such documents to the committee was easier because they “do not require a committee vote” and others were “a significant process and undertaking.”
“Should I now send all of our SEC inquiries to the Justice Department?” Rep. Huizeng asked.
Tune in https://t.co/QaGMDMUJ2F pic.twitter.com/9qC69GLfVp
— Financial Services GOP (@FinancialCmte) June 22, 2023
Although not always in the same vein as Rep. Huizeng, other lawmakers have referred to FTX and Bankman-Fried when discussing SEC oversight. Texas Representative Pete Sessions requested details of the meeting between Gary Gensler and the SBF, saying the SEC chairman had “personal access” to the former FTX CEO. Texas spokesman Al Green has called for regulation of crypto companies such as FTX that “destroy investors’ dreams with ignoble schemes” and also demanded that Gensler testify.
Related: Binance, Binance. US and CZ allege SEC made ‘misleading’ statements about exchange assets
The SEC investigation was due to Bankman-Fried being scheduled to testify at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Dec. 13. He was based in the Bahamas at the time FTX filed for bankruptcy in November 2022, and a criminal investigation into his alleged misconduct was ongoing. Before Bankman-Freed could testify before Congress, he was arrested in the Bahamas and then extradited to the United States.
Authorities are planning two criminal trials against Bankman-Fried on eight criminal charges and five counts, due to begin in October 2023 and March 2024, respectively. The SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have also filed separate civil lawsuits against the SBF, but those cases have been shelved pending the completion of the criminal proceedings.
This is an evolving story and more information will be added as it becomes available.