Anthony Scaramucci, founder of SkyBridge Capital and short-time communications director for the Trump administration, spoke on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Friday morning about friend and business partner Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX.
FTX, which took a 30% stake in Scarmucci’s SkyBridge Capital in September, is facing possible bankruptcy after a “bank correction” at the crypto exchange left it about $8 billion short. Bankman-Fried says she was unaware of the extent of the user’s influence due to internal mislabeling of bank accounts.
Scaramucci was hesitant to attribute the exchange’s failure to malice.
“I don’t want to call it fraud at this point because that’s actually a legal term,” Scaramucci said. “I would beg Sam and his family to tell their investors the truth, to get to the bottom of it.”
Bankman-Fried tweeted Thursday morning that she’s “sorry,” admitting that it “was” and that she “should have done better.”
Bankman-Fried said his first mistake was mislabeling bank accounts internally, which meant he was “substantially disconnected” from his user margin. “I thought it was a lot shorter.”
Scaramucci speculated that Bankman-Fried could make mistakes in the crypto bear market, specifically when Three Arrows, a huge cryptocurrency hedge fund, liquidated in June 2022.
“When Three Arrows went down, it could be possible, Andrew, that Sam had a hard time then, and then he made some decisions that were disastrous for him and for both sides of this business,” he said on Friday, speaking to CNBC’s Andrew. Ross Sorkin.
Scaramucci told “Squawk Box” he went to the Bahamas to help Bankman-Fried as an investor and friend. When it got there, he says, it appeared beyond the point of a simple liquidity rescue.
Binance seems to have made the same assessment. The world’s largest cryptocurrency firm broke a non-binding agreement to bail out FTX after conducting due diligence and news “about mishandled client funds and alleged investigations by US agencies.”
Scaramucci said he saw no evidence of such mishandling when he and other investors first selected FTX as a potential business partner.
“I guess disappointed is the right word, but I’m very disappointed because I like Sam,” Scaramucci said. “I don’t know what happened because I wasn’t an FTX insider.”
“There’s a lot of angst in the markets, and a lot of my friends think it’s the worst week in the history of cryptocurrency,” Scaramucci said.
He said he plans to buy back his SkyBridge stake from FTX, noting that his company had no assets in FTX because of a potential conflict of interest.