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Sam Bankman-Fried pays lawyers with FTX funds: lawsuit

Accused FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves a US court in New York on June 15, 2023.

Mike Seagar | Reuters

Sam Bankman-Fried, the co-founder of failed crypto exchange FTX, was sued in Delaware bankruptcy court on Thursday by his former company’s attorneys, who accuse him and members of his management of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Attorneys are seeking to recover funds from Bankman-Fried and former executives of FTX and subsidiary hedge fund Alameda Research. According to attorneys for the bankrupt exchange, Bankman-Fried stole the money through a $10 million gift to his father, renowned legal scholar Joe Bankman.

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Most of that $10 million gift went from FTX to Bankman-Fried’s Morgan Stanley and TD Ameritrade accounts around January 2022, the suit alleges. Those proceeds now pay Bankman-Fried’s criminal defense bills, the complaint alleges.

A spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.

Bankman-Fried was charged with fraud and bribery, as well as company financing violations, after FTX filed for bankruptcy late last year. Its stock market, once valued at $32 billion, collapsed almost overnight after liquidity dried up and customers demanded withdrawals the company could not meet.

Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty. His trial is expected to begin later this year.

FTX’s lawyers sought the company’s remaining assets to return as much money as possible to creditors.

FTX and Alameda executives Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh are co-defendants in the case along with Bankman-Fried.

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