(Rachel Emmanuel) The bankrupt cryptocurrency trading platform FTX will attempt to claw back millions of dollars in donations to Democrats.
According to the Financial Times, FTX wants to recoup donations that founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and his colleagues made to American politicians following accusations they used customer funds.
The company’s new management said it has been “approached by a number of recipients of contributions or other payments” seeking to return the money.
The Times reports that FTX will set up a process for voluntary repayments and commence legal action for refunds not made.
“To the extent such payments are not returned voluntarily, the FTX debtors intend to commence actions before the bankruptcy court to require the return of such payments, with interest accruing from the date any action is commenced,” FTX said.
Bankman-Fried was the second-largest donor to Democratic causes in the November midterms elections and donated €66 million to US politicians and groups in the 2021-22 election cycle, the Times reports.
He resigned as FTX CEO in November, as the company filed for US bankruptcy proceedings.
Last week, Bankman-Fried was taken into custody in the Bahamas after US authorities filed criminal charges against him. The US justice department alleges that Bankman-Fried broke campaign finance laws, such as the prohibition on using third parties to funnel money to candidates beyond the limit for donations.
According to a statement from Bahamas Attorney General Ryan Pinder, the US is “likely to request his extradition.”
In a statement, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said, “The Bahamas and the United States have a shared interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and broken the law.”
“While the United States is pursuing criminal charges against SBF individually, The Bahamas will continue its own regulatory and criminal investigations into the collapse of FTX, with the continued cooperation of its law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and elsewhere,” the statement continued.
Bankman-Fried denies the allegation.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a second lawsuit on civil fraud charges, including the misuse of customer money to fund donations.
“From the start, Bankman-Fried improperly diverted customer assets to his privately held crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research and then used those customer funds to make undisclosed venture investments, lavish real estate purchases, and large political donations,” the regulator said in court filings last week.
Some US politicians have said they would donate FTX funds to charity, but the company says it will seek repayment on all funds — even if that means pursuing charities.
“Recipients are cautioned that making a payment or donation to a third party (including a charity) in the amount of any payment … does not prevent the [FTX] from seeking recovery from the recipient or any subsequent transferee,” the company said.