CZ says Sam Bankman-Fried was unhinged when Binance pulled out of earlier FTX investment - but SBF shoots back: 'There's no need to lie'

Chao Zhengpeng and Sam Bankman-Fried.
Changpeng "CZ" Zhao and Sam Bankman-Fried.Horacio Villalobos/CorbisAlex Wong/Getty Images
  • Binance pulled out of its investment deal with FTX over 18 months ago, and CEO CZ said Sam Bankman-Fried was "unhinged."

  • "As an early investor in FTX, we became increasingly uncomfortable with Alameda/SBF," CZ wrote on Twitter.

  • Bankman-Fried responded to CZ with a tweet of his own: "There's no need to lie."

Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao tweeted Friday that Sam Bankman-Fried threatened retaliation when the crypto exchange pulled its investment from rival FTX over 18 months ago.

CZ added that Bankman-Fried, who weeks ago stepped down from his position as CEO of the now-bankrupt FTX Group, even became aggressive with staffers at Binance afterwards.

"As an early investor in FTX, we became increasingly uncomfortable with Alameda/SBF and initiated the exit process more than 1.5 years ago," CZ said as part of a lengthy Twitter thread Friday, adding that former FTX spokesperson and "Shark Tank" star Kevin O'Leary should blame Bankman-Fried for the implosion of the exchange.

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Binance became an early investor in FTX three years ago, before later exiting, as CZ noted Friday.

"Sam was so unhinged when we decided to pull out as an investor that he launched a series of offensive tirades at multiple Binance team members, including threatening to go to 'extraordinary lengths to make us pay' – we still have those text messages," CZ said in another tweet.

Bankman-Fried shoots back

In response, Bankman-Fried called out the Binance exec as being dishonest.

"You won, @cz_binance," he tweeted. "There's no need to lie, now, about the buyout. We initiated conversations about buying you out, and we decided to do it because it was important for our business. And while I was frustrated with your 'negotiation' tactics, I chose to still do it."

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He accused Binance of threatening to walk away from that earlier deal unless FTX kicked in an additional $75 million, which Bankman-Fried said FTX agreed to do.

"But again, none of this is necessary," Bankman-Fried said. "You won. Why are you lying about this now?"

In early November, Binance agreed to takeover FTX, which was struggling with a liquidity crisis, but backed off a day later, with CZ later saying FTX was beyond saving. FTX filed for bankruptcy November 11 and is now under the leadership of John Ray III, the former exec who cleaned up Enron.

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