- Bankman-Fried gave generously to charities and launched the FTX Foundation and FTX Future Fund to advance his goals.
- Reclaiming payments made to charities and politicians is likely to be an easier part of FTX’s bankruptcy process.
- Former Representative Beto O’Rourke claimed to have returned a $1 million donation to Bankman-Fried a week before FTX filed for bankruptcy.
Prior to its collapse and filing for bankruptcy, crypto exchange, FTX was famous for using numerous celebrities as part of its marketing scheme. The company, led by its former CEO, Bankman-Fried, was also known for dishing out huge donations to political groups in the United States as well as charities.
However, the team overseeing FTX’s bankruptcy filing has called for all donations made by the exchange, its former CEO, and other executives to be returned. It noted that FTX “intends to commence actions before the bankruptcy court to require the return of such payments, with interest accruing from the date any action is commenced.” Recipients are advised to “voluntarily” return funds given using the email address [email protected]
The company clarified in a statement that,
Recipients are cautioned that making a payment or donation to a third party (including a charity) in the amount of any payment received from a FTX contributor does not prevent the FTX debtors from seeking recovery from the recipient or any subsequent transferee.
Sharing our press release just issued: FTX Debtors Announce Process for Voluntary Return of Avoidable Payments https://t.co/l57F7zgKPJ
— FTX (@FTX_Official) December 19, 2022
FTX said it has already been contacted by a number of recipients of donations or other payments made by Sam Bankman-Fried or other executives. The exchange added that it was working with these beneficiaries to secure the quick return of such funds, revealing that some have asked for instructions on how to return such payments.
Politicians claimed to have donated the funds obtained from Bankman-Fried to charity, including Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Rep. Jesus Garcia, and Sen. John Boozman. Surprisingly, the White House last week declined to clarify if it would refund any political contributions made by Bankman-Fried to President Joe Biden.
Bankman-Fried contributed an estimated $46.5 million to politics in the months before FTX’s bankruptcy. The nonprofit organization OpenSecrets.org, which monitors lobbying and campaign finance in the United States, claims that nearly $1.26 million of these funds were channeled to Democratic candidates.
Bankman-Fried’s hefty donations made him a popular name in Washington, especially amongst Republican and Democratic candidates. Ryan Salame, the co-CEO of FTX’s Bahamian subsidiary, and other members of the FTX inner circle were also reputed to have made “generous” donations at some point.
The Department of Justice, in criminal charges filed in New York, claimed that Bankman-Fried’s donations were the result of illegal money laundering since the funds were essentially from customer accounts. Bankman-Fried has since been arrested in the Bahamas and is to be extradited to the US.
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