Disgraced cryptocurrency trading platform owner Sam Bankman-Fried visited the White House four times in 2022 before he was arrested for defrauding investors and went bankrupt in November, records show.
Bankman-Fried filed for bankruptcy after investors discovered that crypto trading platform FTX and Bankman-Fried-owned firm Alameda Research were intertwined and that Bankman-Fried and other company executives were working in luxury offices in the Bahamas.
Prior to the scandal breaking, Bankman-Fried donated $40 million to politicians on both sides of the aisle, but mostly Democrats; he was the second-largest individual donor to the Democrat Party. Donors now must decide whether to keep the donations.
Some have decided to donate the money to various charities rather than return it to the companies, where it might help make investors whole. The Senate Majority PAC, which received $3 million, did return the money to the company so it could be given back to investors.
Bankman-Fried behind bars
Bankman-Fried was detained in the Bahamas and agreed to be extradited to the U.S. to face trial on the charges.
White House visitor logs show that he met with top Biden administration officials repeatedly before his arrest to discuss cryptocurrency policy with them. Bloomberg reported.
He met with Biden adviser and former campaign chief Steve Riccheti three times, in April, May, and September. He also met with deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed.
Family is politically connected
Bankman-Fried comes from a politically connected family; his parents Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried are Stanford Law professors and have worked as advisors to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Joseph Bankman runs Mind the Gap, an organization that fundraises in Silicon Valley for Democrats, to the tune of $4 million before the midterms.
His brother Gabriel, who was present at two of the White House meetings, has a non-profit dedicated to preventing pandemics.
Billions of dollars misused
Prosecutors now say that Bankman-Fried misused billions of investor dollars by diverting them to Alameda Research, where they went into his pockets and those of politicians he supported.
Bankman-Fried allegedly committed these horrible actions while touting himself and his company as ethical actors in the cryptocurrency space.
FTX was considered the most stable crypto trading platform and the least likely to go under or be involved in shady dealings.
Its bankruptcy has been a major monkey wrench in the overall stability of cryptocurrency, with many people’s trust faltering seriously after FTX went down in November. Bitcoin had been recovering from some earlier losses and promptly lost another 25% of its value when the scandal broke.