- Sam Bankman-Fried denied he was in a secret chat group called “Wirefraud” in a tweet on Monday.
- Bankman-Fried and his inner circle shared secret information in the chat, the Australian Financial Review reported.
- The former FTX CEO was arrested and charged with eight counts of fraud and conspiracy this week.
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder and former CEO of now-defunct crypto-lending firm FTX, denied that he was in a secret chat group called “Wirefraud,” hours before his arrest in the Bahamas on Monday.
Bankman-Fried responded to a tweet accusing him of being in the chat group saying: “If this is true then I wasn’t a member of that inner circle. (I’m quite sure it’s just false; I have never heard of such a group.)”
The apparent chat group, based on encrypted messaging platform Signal, included members of FTX’s inner circle, the Australian Financial Review reported first.
Alongside Bankman-Fried, FTX’s co-founder Gary Wang, engineer Nishad Singh, and former CEO of Alameda Research Caroline Ellison were in the group to share information that they hoped would remain hidden, according to AFR.
Although the chat group was set up to keep communications hidden, the contents of it will become public throughout legal proceedings, AFR reported.
FTX did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about the chat group, made outside of normal working hours.
Hours after Bankman-Fried denied involvement in the chat group, he was arrested by Bahamian authorities.
On Tuesday, it was announced that he had been charged with eight counts of fraud and conspiracy.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Bankman-Fried on Tuesday of “orchestrating a massive, years-long fraud.”
FTX and 130 other affiliated companies including trading firm Alameda Research, all called FTX Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November with Bankman-Fried stepping down as CEO on the same day. The collapse of FTX exposed that Bankman-Fried was transferring billions of dollars of customer funds to prop up Alameda Research.
Shortly after the collapse, Bankman-Fried embarked on a media apology tour and interviewed with the New York Times at its DealBook Summit where he told reporter Andrew Sorkin that he “didn’t knowingly commingle funds,” and “didn’t ever try to commit fraud.”