Sam Bankman-Fried Caught Bribing Chinese Govt
Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder of FTX, was indicted on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly paying millions of dollars in bribes to a member of the Chinese communist government. It was discovered that Bankman-Fried had commingled customer and investor funds with sister trading company Alameda Research, resulting in several companies associated with him filing for bankruptcy late last year.
The new indictment alleges that Bankman-Fried “authorized and directed a bribe of at least $40 million to one or more Chinese government officials” in order to reclaim access to accounts containing over $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency which had been frozen by Chinese authorities. The purpose of the funds was said to be so that Bankman-Fried could use them “to assist [himself] and Alameda in obtaining and retaining business.”
The 31-year old Bankman-Fried currently faces twelve criminal charges stemming from this case, including two counts of wire fraud conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud, one count each of conspiracy to commit money laundering and commodities fraud, one count conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit campaign finance violations. In February these were supplemented with four additional charges related to conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business, banking fraud, securities fraud, and derivative sale/purchase fraud. If convicted on all counts he is facing a combined jail sentence exceeding 150 years.
Despite the allegations against him, Bankman-Fried has proven himself quite influential within the political sphere over the past year; he donated $39 million primarily toward Democratic nominees during the 2022 midterm elections following his status as second largest donor for Biden’s 2020 campaign cycle. This also enabled multiple meetings between himself and White House senior advisors in preceding months prior to his companies’ bankruptcies being filed.
Furthermore, it has since come out that through a nonprofit organization called Building a Stronger Future—run alongside his brother Gabe Bankman-Fried (a former Democratic congressional staffer)—he donated millions towards various media outlets. These outlets have since run favorable coverage for him despite his empire crumbling due to potentially misappropriated funds used for personal gain such as luxury real estate in the Bahamas and influencing politics at large.