FTX Sues to Reclaim $700M Bankman-Fried Allegedly Spent on Celebrity Connections
June 25, 2023

FTX Sues to Reclaim $700M Bankman-Fried Allegedly Spent on Celebrity Connections

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FTX’s new management is trying to retrieve an eye-watering $700 million that disgraced crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried allegedly used to buy influence.

A lawsuit filed Thursday talks of Bankman-Fried’s encounters with “super-networker” Michael Kives, a Hollywood agent turned investor and ex-aide to Hillary Clinton.

FTX’s new management is now suing Kives and his investment firm, K5, to try and get the allegedly misappropriated funds back. 

According to the lawsuit, Bankman-Fried met Kives at a posh dinner full of high-profile guests, including “multiple billionaires” and “a former Presidential candidate” back in February 2022.

He later talked about Kives being “probably the most connected person” he’d ever met and “gushed” about his access to the rich and famous. 

This led to Bankman-Fried allegedly authorizing the transfer of $700 million to Kives’ K5 entities throughout 2022, according to the lawsuit—because, in the words of Bankman-Fried, Kives was “something of a one-stop shop for relationships that we should utilize.”

The payments were allegedly made through shell corporations, according to the complaint.

FTX was a crypto exchange that went bankrupt last year in a highly-publicized collapse. Prosecutors allege that the exchange was criminally mismanaged, and ex-boss and co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in December. 

Bankman-Fried was charged with eight financial crimes by the Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit in the Southern District of New York, and he pleaded not guilty in January. 

He was hit with further charges in February and now faces 13—including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate campaign finance laws.

It is alleged Bankman-Fried commingled funds from FTX to make risky bets on sister exchange Alameda Research, which he also co-founded. 

Bankman-Fried appeared to be popular with the establishment: he dined with politicians and donated millions to candidates, including President Joe Biden. He later admitted donating to both Republicans and Democrats, but only in secret to the former.

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