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Former Fed Prosecutor: 'Curious' Timing for DOJ to Charge FTX Founder Hours Before Congressional Testimony Scheduled

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National Review columnist and former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy finds the timing of the Department of Justice issuing an arrest warrant for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried the night before he was to testify before Congress “curious.”

Bahamian authorities took Bankman-Fried into custody Monday night after the DOJ sought his extradition to face multiple charges in the U.S., including wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance law violations.

The cryptocurrency trader was due to testify before House Financial Services Committee Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, the timing of his arrest denies the public the opportunity to get the answers they deserved,” Democratic Chairman of the Financial Services Committee Rep. Maxine Waters of California said at the hearing.

“Rest assured that this committee will not stop until we uncover the full truth behind the collapse of FTX,” she added.

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McCarthy, who served as a U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, found that office’s decision to indict Bankman-Fried just hours before he was to testify puzzling.

“If you’re the Justice Department, and you’re the prosecutor on this case and you have the prospect of a potential fraud defendant, who goes in front of Congress under oath to make hours of testimony, a lot of it probably elicited by pretty hostile questioning, there’s nothing you would want more than that,” McCarthy said in a Fox News interview Tuesday morning.

“Any defense lawyer on the planet would tell a defendant to take the Fifth and not give the government any information until you see what charges they have and get a look at the discovery and the witnesses and see how strong the case is,” he added.

“It’s very curious that the Justice Department would file on the eve of that kind of an opportunity to get the defendant on record under oath,” McCarthy said.

Do you think the DOJ arrested Fried to protect Democratic lawmakers?

Fox News host Bill Hemmer asked McCarthy to speculate what the DOJ’s reasoning may have been in the timing of the arrest of Bankman-Fried, who is also known as SBF.

“You have a Democratic Justice Department. It’s entirely possible the Democrats on the [House Financial Services Committee] did not want to hear a lot of questioning by aggressive Republicans about the fact that all that money went into these politicians, while the public, people who invested with SBF appear to have lost their shirts,” McCarthy said.

He noted that SBF reportedly gave about $40 million to Democrats this election cycle, making him the second-highest donor to that party behind George Soros.

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Fortune reported that Ryan Salame, an executive at FTX Digital Markets, gave around $23 million to Republicans and PACs supporting them, as well.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York said Tuesday in a statement regarding the SBF indictment and arrest, “One month ago, FTX collapsed, causing billions of dollars in losses to its customers, lenders, and investors.”

“Now, a federal grand jury in New York has indicted the former founder and chief executive officer of FTX and charged him with crimes related to the phenomenal downfall of that one-time cryptocurrency exchange, including fraud on customers, investors, lenders, and our campaign finance system,” he continued.

“As today’s charges make clear, this was not a case of mismanagement or poor oversight, but of intentional fraud, plain and simple.”

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