Bankrupt FTX has asked politicians and political action groups to return donations made in December by employees of companies.
Sunday's announcement by the bankrupt crypto exchange stated that it was contacting all those who received payments from Sam Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives. According to The New York Times' report, FTX employees gave $90 million to politicians. The debtors want to recover that money to customers.
Bloomberg was told by Sam Bankman-Fried in April that he would subsist on $100,000 per year for the next ten years.
He would keep a small portion of the billions he earned from his cryptocurrency empire, and give the rest.
Bankman-Fried described himself as an altruist who would accumulate money or coins to help the greater good of the world. He also donated money to many organizations that were founded on the principle of effective altruism.
Bankman-Fried wrote large checks to political leaders, property owners, sports teams, and other high-ranking officials. His spending reflected his desire to purchase influence, as well as his philosophical beliefs.
All of it came to a halt in November when Bankman-Fried's net worth plummeted from $15.6 billion down to $1 billion within a single day after it was reported that his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX needed a bailout.
It has been revealed that up to $2 billion in customer funds is missing. Questions are now being raised about how Bankman-Fried funded his extravagant lifestyle. Lawyers are now arguing that SBF, the former mogul, seemed to have managed FTX as a "personal fiefdom".
These lawyers help FTX navigate the bankruptcy process. Customers hope to recover at least some of their funds following FTX's bankruptcy filing and Bankman-Fried's resignation as CEO.
Lawyers have argued that some of these customer funds, possibly $300 million, might have made their way to the Bahamas to purchase expensive homes for FTX executives.
James Brumley, a Sullivan & Cromwell restructuring lawyer, stated to a US court that substantial amounts of money had been spent on "things not related" to the bankruptcy. Insider reviewed the recording from the Tuesday hearing.
A team of lawyers are now working to locate FTX's assets and begin repaying its creditors. John J. Ray III, the company's new CEO and a lawyer who has been leading it through bankruptcy, stated Tuesday that FTX would reorganize FTX's assets worldwide and had received interest from potential buyers.
Bankman-Fried won't likely be making any major donations anytime soon. Here is a list of the ways he spent his once-massive fortune.
According to a bankruptcy lawyer, FTX spent approximately $300 million on houses in Bahamas for senior executives.
James Bromley of Sullivan & Cromwell, a partner in restructuring, was a lawyer on FTX’s bankruptcy team. He stated that one of the US arms "purchased nearly $300 million worth" of real estate in Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried lived with 10 other roommates on a 600-acre property at the oceanfront in New Providence, Bahamas. It was known as Albany.
Crunchbase reports that Bankman-Fried invested in a few media companies. Semafor was a news startup founded by Justin Smith, former CEO of Bloomberg Media and columnist for the New York Times.
Smith, the editor-in-chief of the site, acknowledged the investment. He stated that it would continue to cover Bankman Fried "aggressively" but will disclose his stake whenever the site writes about him.
Bankman-Fried also provided seed funding for Trustless Media, which is a production company that combines Web3 and TV production. According to the AP, $5 million was also donated by Bankman-Fried to ProPublica's investigative news outlet.
Crunchbase reports that Bankman-Fried invested money through FTX and Alameda Research's research arm Alameda Research as well as being an angel investor.
These include crypto platforms like Liquid Global and TrueFi, as well as financial technology companies such Chipper Cash and Chipper Cash.
According to Politico, Bankman-Fried contributed more than $10 Million to Joe Biden's presidential campaign.
According to Politico, his campaign spending in 2022 was more than $40,000,000.
According to The Los Angeles Times, he also donated $1 million to Senate Majority PAC and $6,000,000 to House Majority PAC - super PACs dedicated to keeping Congress in Democratic hands.
Bankman-Fried also made philanthropic contributions. Bloomberg reports that Bankman-Fried gave half of his earnings to Jane Street's so-called effective charities and animal welfare groups.
Bloomberg reported that he gave away $50 million to India's pandemic relief and anti-global warming efforts in 2021.
Politico reports that he has also made COVID-19 prevention a priority as the main funder for Guarding Against Pandemics (a non-profit run by his brother Gabe).
According to the Nassau Guardian, he donated $1.4million worth of COVID-19 testing kit and K95 masks to his home country of Bahamas.
The Miami Heat's arena was his most prominent sponsorship deal. Bloomberg reports that the original deal would have cost him $135million over 19 years. FTX still has to pay $16.5 million in contract fees over three years, even though the deal was canceled after FTX filed bankruptcy.
Bloomberg reported that he also spent $30 million to air an advertisement in the 2022 Super Bowl with comedian Larry David.
Since June 2021, FTX is the "Official Cryptocurrency Exchange" brand of MLB. All Major League Baseball umpires are required to wear a patch bearing FTX's logo. Bankman-Fried also has deals with major basketball teams such as the Washington Wizards or Golden State Warriors through FTX. FTX also has deals with athletes such as Steph Curry, quarterback Tom Brady.
FTX signed a $17.5million deal with University of California-Berkeley in order to sponsor its athletic department.
You can find a complete list of all Bankman-Fried's sponsorships in sports here.
Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, has donated $40 million previously to Democratic causes. This makes him the second-largest donor for the party ahead of the 2022 midterm election, after George Soros' $128million, according OpenSecrets. Bankman-Fried said that he also donated to Republican causes using "dark money" in order to avoid criticism.
Ryan Salame, former CEO of FTX's Bahamas-based company, donated $23million - making him the 15th most generous donor in the US according to OpenSecrets. OpenSecrets also shows Nishad Singh, FTX’s former director for engineering, who donated $7.9million last March. His 7.8% stake in FTX was valued at $572 million.
In December, the lawyers representing FTX in bankruptcy filed a request for the return of donations. CoinDesk reported in January that only five of the 196 politicians who had received money from FTX had said they had returned it.
FTX stated that if payments are not returned by February 28th, the politicians could be taken before the bankruptcy court and interest added to their case.
CoinDesk reports that John Fetterman and Nancy Pelosi, well-known politicians, had not yet returned funds to donors as of mid-January. At the time of publication, it was not clear if either had received any donations.
Insider reached out for more information to these people, but they did not respond immediately.
According to the Federal Electoral Commission Pelosi and Fetterman received $2,900 each from Singh. According to bankruptcy filings, he also received a loan of $543 million from Alameda.
Salame paid $2,900 to JD Vance, the Peter Thiel-backed Republican who is associated with the "New Right", per the FEC. Salame was the first to expose FTX's alleged commingling customer funds.
CoinDesk reported that Vance donated the money for a non-profit. However, FTX warned that it does not stop FTX debtors seeking to recover their money.
Bankman-Fried pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges including conspiracy to defraud and campaign finance violations.
According to The New York Times, authorities are also investigating whether Bankman-Fried’s younger brother, Gabe was involved in the alleged scheme.
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