FTX's Bankman-Fried met White House aides about crypto policy

Meetings took place before cryptocurrency empire collapsed

Once a fixture in Washington, Sam Bankman-Fried is now facing criminal charges for his role in the collapse of his crypto empire. AFP
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Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency mogul, held at least four meetings with senior White House officials this year — part of a push to influence crypto policy and build connections in Washington before his FTX empire ultimately collapsed.

On September 8, Mr Bankman-Fried met Steve Ricchetti, one of President Joe Biden’s senior advisers, White House officials familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The meeting, previously unreported, was the latest in a handful of sessions.

Mr Bankman-Fried had at least three other previously disclosed visits to the White House, according to visitor logs. These include one with Bruce Reed, another senior Biden aide, officials confirmed.

His brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, is recorded as holding a March meeting of his own, making a total of at least five White House meetings this year that involved one or both of the brothers.

Once a fixture in Washington, Mr Bankman-Fried is now facing criminal charges for his role in the collapse of his crypto empire that has left investors facing billions of dollars in potential losses.

The brothers’ White House meetings focused on general discussion of the crypto industry and exchanges, as well as pandemic prevention related to the foundation Guarding Against Pandemics, run by Gabriel Bankman-Fried, an official said.

FTX’s ties to Washington have come under scrutiny since the exchange’s collapse.

One person familiar with the meetings, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that politics was not discussed at the White House meetings.

The former billionaire often espoused the need for greater regulation of crypto and touted himself and his companies as ethical actors in the space.

But US prosecutors now paint a starkly different picture, alleging misconduct, including conspiring with others to use corporate money and shadow donors for political contributions and misusing billions of dollars of customer funds.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

Updated: December 30, 2022, 3:23 AM