Elon Musk has lashed out at The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) after the outlet published a story on Sam Bankman-Fried, the former chief executive of FTX who is at the heart of a crypto scandal worth billions of dollars.
Responding to a tweet by The Wall Street Journal Markets sharing the story on Mr Bankman-Fried, the Tesla CEO wrote: “WSJ giving foot massages to a criminal.”
Mr Bankman-Fried, who headed FTX, a crypto trading platform, declared his company bankrupt and stepped away as CEO recently after concerns were raised in the crypto market about the security of its platform and its finances.
The WSJ article titled “Sam Bankman-Fried Said He Would Give Away Billions. Broken Promises Are All That’s Left” details how Mr Bankman-Fried pledged to donate billions. It says his firm’s swift collapse wiped out his wealth and ambitious philanthropic endeavors.
FTX is now reportedly under investigation by authorities in the US and the Bahamas after up to $2bn in client funds vanished.
Earlier this month, Mr Musk had said on Twitter that he had rebuffed an offer from Mr Bankman-Fried to invest in his acquisition of Twitter.
According to leaked text messages between Mr Musk and his banker Michael Grimes published by The Internal Tech Emails Twitter account Mr Bankman-Fried offered “at least $3bn” to help fund the deal.
Mr Musk tweeted: “Accurate. He set off my bs detector, which is why I did not think he had $3B.”
The article by the WSJ also triggered criticism from other commentators on Twitter, who accused the outlet for attempting to control the narrative on Mr Bankman-Fried.
A recent report from crypto news site Coindesk said that the two parts of Mr Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire, Alameda and FTX, had become “unusually close”.
The relationship between his two businesses is being probed by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission for any possible wrongdoing, reported the Associated Press.
Last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the administration was closely monitoring developments.
“The administration has consistently maintained that, without proper oversight of cryptocurrencies, they risk harming everyday Americans.”