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Feds Investigating FTX Founder SBF for Possible Market Manipulation: NYT

According to the New York Times, US prosecutors are looking into whether FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried manipulated the prices of TerraUSD and Luna cryptocurrencies earlier this year to benefit his businesses.

According to the report, prosecutors are investigating whether Bankman-Fried could have “steered” the prices of algorithmic stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) and its associated token Luna (LUNA).

These two cryptocurrencies went bankrupt in May, about six months before Bankman-crypto Fried’s exchange FTX and more than 100 related entities filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. One of those entities was FTX’s sister trading firm Alameda Research, which was forced to cease trading and is now under investigation after The Wall Street Journal and Reuters reported that FTX had lent the firm billions of dollars in client funds.

The New York Times reported that the investigation into Bankman-TerraUSD Fried’s and Luna’s trading activity is still in its early stages, noting that it is “not clear whether prosecutors have determined any wrongdoing” by SBF or when investigators began looking into his company’s TerraUSD and Luna trades.

According to the report, Bankman-Fried stated that he was “not aware of any market manipulation and certainly never intended to engage in market manipulation.”

The investigation into whether Bankman-Fried manipulated cryptocurrency markets is just one of several ongoing investigations into his web of companies by authorities in the United States and elsewhere. 

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are also investigating FTX in the days leading up to its collapse, and Bloomberg reported that federal prosecutors were investigating the firm months before it declared bankruptcy. Authorities in the Bahamas are also looking into the FTX Digital Markets subsidiary based there.

Meanwhile, US lawmakers want Bankman-Fried to testify about how his company’s bankruptcy unfolded before the end of the year. The United States Senate Banking Committee asked Bankman-Fried to appear before it on December 14. Meanwhile, senior members of the House Financial Services Committee are debating whether to issue a subpoena compelling him to testify.

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