Bill Ackman says he understands why FTX victims want Sam Bankman-Fried to 'suffer' severe consequences 'including jail time'

Hedge fund titan Bill Ackman appears to be coming to terms with comments he made on Twitter last week about Sam Bankman-Fried, which some interpreted as implicit support for the 30-year-old who presided over one of the most epic financial market crashes in recent memory .

Last week, Ackman tweeted that Bankman-Fried’s statements, made during a widely watched interview broadcast in New York from the crypto founder’s location in the Bahamas, were “believable.”

“Many interpreted my tweet to mean that I was defending the SBF or in some way supporting it. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Ackman wrote Saturday, referring to Bankman-Fried by his initials SBF.

Ackman went on to describe the implosion of Bankman-Fried’s FTX crypto exchange and some of its related businesses as “at least the most egregious, large-scale case of gross business negligence I’ve seen in my career.”

Explore: The Sam Bankman-Fried Road Show Continues: 10 Crazy Things The FTX Founder Just Said

Ackman, who is CEO of Pershing Square Capital, a prominent investor in traditional markets and an advocate for crypto, tweeted this message last week after the widely watched Bankman-Fried interview at the New York Times Dealbook Summit:

“Call me crazy, but I think SBF is telling the truth.”

Ackman is punished by some for seemingly offering lip service to a person some accuse, at the very least, of epic mismanagement of client assets.

Speaking against the wishes of his lawyers, Bankman-Fried on Wednesday, during the Dealbook interview, admitted he had made mistakes but said he never intended to mix client funds with the firm’s to make leveraged bets of crypto through the hedge fund Alameda Research, which he founded before starting FTX.

“I didn’t know exactly what was going on,” Bankman said at the time.

At least one response to Ackman’s Saturday tweet questioned whether the hedge fund can respond to backlash from its own clients.

This isn’t the first time Ackman has cast Bankman-Fried’s actions in a positive light. As FTX’s implosion unfolded, Ackman said in a now-deleted tweet that he had never before seen a CEO take responsibility the way the crypto exchange operator did, and that he wanted to give him “credit” for his actions. “This bodes well for him and the possibility of a more favorable outcome” for FTX, he wrote.

On Saturday, a Twitter user asked Ackman if he had any ties to Bankman-Fried, to which the investor bluntly said no.

Bankman-Fried was considered a financial darling in and out of the crypto industry until his empire collapsed on 11 November and the related hedge fund Alameda was revealed to have lost billions of FTX clients’ money in leveraged crypto bets.

John Ray, FTX’s new CEO, in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, described the state of the crypto platform “such a complete failure of corporate control and such a complete lack of reliable financial information.”

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