Sam Bankman-Fried transferred $2.2bn in FTX customer funds for personal use, filings show

Funds worth $3.2bn were given to key associates, used to buy luxury property in Bahamas and for political donations

Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of misappropriating billions of dollars in FTX customer funds. EPA
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Collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX made transfers of about $3.2 billion to its founder Sam Bankman-Fried and key employees, according to court filings seen by Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

The funds were moved in the form of “payments and loans”, mainly from trading house Alameda Research, and include about $2.2 billion transferred to Mr Bankman-Fried, the filings submitted to the bankruptcy court in Delaware by the new management of FTX showed on Wednesday.

“These figures exclude more than $240 million spent to buy luxury property in the Bahamas, political and charitable donations and substantial transfers to subsidiaries in the Bahamas and elsewhere,” FTX’s management said.

“FTX is investigating possible ways to claw back the transfers to Bankman-Fried and his former colleagues, but the amount and timing of eventual monetary recoveries cannot be predicted at this time and forensic analysis is likely to uncover more assets, liabilities and transfers.”

Mr Bankman-Fried, 30, was arrested in the Bahamas on December 12 after federal prosecutors in the US charged him with eight criminal counts — including conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering — for allegedly misusing billions of dollars in customer funds before the $9 billion collapse of FTX and Alameda Research.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate rode a boom in the value of Bitcoin and other digital assets to build an estimated net worth of $26 billion.

FTX collapsed last November after a wave of withdrawals and consequently declared bankruptcy on November 11, wiping out Mr Bankman-Fried’s fortune. He later said he had $100,000 in his bank account.

Mr Bankman-Fried’s loss of a $16 billion fortune overnight has been described as the biggest one-day loss on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He is currently under house arrest at his parents’ home in California after a US court granted him bail of $250 million and will face trial on October 2.

FTX’s new management, including restructuring expert and chief executive John Ray, are seeking to track billions of dollars of assets linked to the crypto exchange that can be eventually returned to the millions of customers whose accounts have been frozen since its collapse.

Sam Bankman-Fried — in pictures

The administrators of FTX identified other transfers as part of the overall $3.2 billion.

Three FTX insiders who have pleaded guilty and are co-operating with prosecutors — Nishad Singh, Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison — were transferred about $839 million in total, according to FTX.

Two other former FTX executives, Ryan Salame and John Trabucco, were said to have together received more than $100 million.

FTX International and Alameda were both independently profitable businesses in 2021, each making billions. However, Alameda lost about 80 per cent of its assets’ value over the course of 2022 due to a series of market crashes. FTX was also affected by Alameda’s decline.

Mr Bankman-Fried and fellow founder Mr Wang bought a stake of about 7.6 per cent in stock trading app Robinhood last year for $546 million, according to an affidavit in December.

The pair borrowed the money from Alameda Research and purchased the shares in four tranches through a holding company in Antigua.

Updated: March 16, 2023, 7:57 AM