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U.S. House committee chair says Bankman-Fried subpoena 'definitely on the table'

FILE PHOTO: Treasury Secretary Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Powell testify during the House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington

(Reuters) -U.S. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Maxine Waters tweeted on Wednesday that a subpoena of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was "definitely on the table," in response to reports she was unwilling to force him to testify before a House committee.

Bankman-Fried, 30, faces scrutiny by regulators in the United States and elsewhere over the stunning collapse of Bahamas-based crypto-exchange FTX, which filed for bankruptcy last month after a liquidity crisis that saw at least $1 billion of customer funds vanish.

The House Financial Services Committee has scheduled a hearing into the matter for Tuesday. CNBC reported that Waters, a Democrat who chairs the panel, had no intention of subpoenaing Bankman-Fried if he does not voluntarily testify.

"Lies are circulating @CNBC that I am not willing to subpoena @SBF_FTX," Waters said on Twitter. "He has been requested to testify at the December 13th hearing. A subpoena is definitely on the table. Stay tuned."

Waters had earlier said it was imperative that the FTX founder testify and that the committee was "willing to schedule continued hearings if there is more information to be shared later."

Bloomberg News reported separately that two U.S. senators were also seeking Bankman-Fried's testimony and would subpoena him if necessary.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that federal prosecutors were investigating whether Bankman-Fried manipulated the market for two cryptocurrencies, leading to their collapse and the implosion of his own exchange.

Bankman-Fried was considered a crypto wunderkind and was one of the largest donors to Democratic Party candidates and causes before FTX filed for bankruptcy last month.

He said last week that he would not be surprised if he traveled to Washington for congressional hearings, while appearing to distance himself from suggestions of fraud.

(Reporting by Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler and Edmund Klamann)