Sam Bankman-Fried is the former billionaire who knows just how to captivate the general populous: Ivy League education, wealthy, eccentric, and has a tenacity for destroying just about everything around him. This time, it’s not SBF messing with another crypto firm or causing another bankruptcy. Rather, this one is wholly on Sam himself.
Our latest episode in the Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX saga comes in the form of illegal campaign contributions. As if there weren’t enough federal agencies coming for SBF, now you have to add the Federal Elections Committee to the long list of debtors.
The only difference is these guys don’t want money. They want to return the money and have additional time added to Sam Bankman-Fried’s already lengthy list of federal, state, and local charges.
Bankman-Fried & His Numerous Political Donations
Let’s talk about how Sam Bankman-Fried made illegal political donations to the right, to the left, and even to the middle. That’s right, folks. SBF was polyamorous with his political donations.
Bankman-Fried faces 12 criminal charges, including four for fraud and eight for conspiracy, up from eight charges in an earlier indictment, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
The new indictment adds to pressure on the 30-year-old former billionaire, who has already seen two of his former top lieutenants plead guilty.
He is also trying to convince a judge he should remain free on bail. A spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
Were These Donations For Pure Purposes?
Prosecutors said Bankman-Fried conspired with two other former FTX executives to donate tens of millions of dollars in order to influence US politicians to pass legislation favorable to the company.
The donations were unlawful because they were made through “straw” donors or with corporate funds, often allowing Bankman-Fried to evade contribution limits, prosecutors said.
While Bankman-Fried was one of the largest donors to Democratic campaigns in the 2022 midterms, the indictment said he “did not want to be known as a left-leaning partisan, or to have his name publicly attached to Republican candidates.”
Prosecutors said that Bankman-Fried directed one executive to donate primarily to left-leaning candidates and organizations and the other to Republicans, with many donations funded by his Alameda Research hedge fund and including FTX customer funds.
The indictment said a political consultant working for BankmanFried spilled the beans to one of the executives, going on to say:
“You being the center-left face of our spending will mean you giving to a lot of woke s*** for transactional purposes.”
That executive gave more than $US1 million ($A1.5 million) to a pro-LGBTQ group at Bankman-Fried’s direction, the indictment said.
Federal Election Commission records show that Nishad Singh, FTX’s former engineering chief, contributed $US1.1 million on July 7, 2022, to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a US organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ people openly.
In a statement, the group said it has “set aside funds and will take appropriate action once we receive guidance from authorities.”
Singh’s Lawyer Refused to Comment
As a little reminder, after founding FTX in 2019, Bankman-Fried rode the boom in the value of bitcoin and other digital assets to attain an estimated $US 26 billion net worth.
The exchange collapsed in November amid a flurry of customer withdrawals over concerns the exchange was commingling assets with Alameda. Bankman-Fried’s new indictment details how he allegedly used stolen FTX customer funds to plug losses at Alameda and fund donations, “exploiting the trust that FTX customers placed in him and his exchange.”
The additional charges include conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.