SBF Donated Millions to Politicians. Now FTX Wants That Money Back - CNET

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Before his precipitous autumn from grace, Sam Bankman-Fried was crypto's affable face. His persona wasn't conscionable for lawsuit consumption, but was besides aimed astatine lawmakers. He lobbied politicians crossed some parties with his aerial of technocratic competence, and tens of millions of dollars successful donations.

Now, months aft the institution went bankrupt, FTX's debtors privation those donations back. In a press merchandise issued connected Sunday, the crypto exchange's debtors announced they're sending confidential letters to politicians and governmental enactment funds seeking the instrumentality of donations made by Bankman-Fried and different FTX personell.

Those aforesaid debtors antecedently estimated that Bankman Fried dropped $93 cardinal successful governmental donations.  FTX's debtors are astatine contiguous relying connected donations to beryllium returned voluntarily, but accidental they "reserve the close to commence actions earlier the Bankruptcy Court" to unit the funds' return. 

Bankman-Fried was the Democrats' 2nd largest donor betwixt 2020 and 2022, contributing implicit $37 cardinal towards the bluish party's predetermination efforts, according to fund-tracker Open Secrets. Top FTX exec Ryan Salame donated $19 cardinal to G.O.P candidates during the aforesaid period. 

FTX was among the world's biggest cryptocurrency exchanges until precocious past year. Its implosion began connected Nov. 2, erstwhile the company's finances were leaked to CoinDesk. The work recovered that implicit one-third of the $14.6 cardinal successful assets owned by Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried's concern firm, were FTT tokens, a cryptocurrency issued by FTX. In different words, the instauration of Alameda's finances was an plus issued by its sister company. Alameda Research was past discovered to beryllium $8 cardinal successful debt, with FTX transferring lawsuit funds to Alameda to plug the hole, starring to the exchange's inability to work lawsuit withdrawals.

John Ray III, an lawyer celebrated for overseeing efforts to retrieve funds mislaid successful Enron's infamous accounting scandal, was successful November appointed FTX's caller CEO, a presumption from which he'll analyse wherever the exchange's funds went and however they tin beryllium recovered. 

"Never successful my vocation person I seen specified a implicit nonaccomplishment of firm controls and specified a implicit lack of trustworthy fiscal accusation arsenic occurred here," Ray wrote successful a bankruptcy tribunal filing. 

The Department of Justice is besides connected the case. Bankman-Fried, whose nett worthy was estimated to beryllium $16 cardinal earlier his companies' crash, was charged with 8 counts of wealth laundering and fraud successful December. He pleaded not guilty. The DoJ subsequently seized much than $455-million worthy of stocks owned by Bankman-Fried and chap FTX co-founder Gary Wang successful January, and another $150 cardinal successful assets aboriginal that month

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