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FTX bankruptcy costs are way too expensive – Why?

TL;DR

  • FTX’s bankruptcy process incurs over $200 million in professional fees due to the complexity of the case.
  • High hourly rates for lawyers and advisors, unregulated financial system, and lack of corporate governance contribute to the costs.
  • The expenses represent more than 2% of the platform’s reported $5 billion assets.

The bankruptcy of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX has been a financial quagmire, accruing more than $200 million in professional fees, according to an independent audit.

The complexity of untangling FTX’s global operations and the ensuing legal battles appear to be major factors driving up the costs.

FTX’s burden of bankruptcy: Where the expenses stem from

In the aftermath of FTX’s collapse last November, a multitude of professionals including lawyers, financial advisors, and tax consultants have been called to task.

Several prominent law firms including Sullivan & Cromwell and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, are knee-deep in the restructuring process.

As per an examination of the fees accumulated in the first three months post the bankruptcy declaration, some lawyers have charged rates exceeding $2,000 per hour. Sullivan & Cromwell alone tallied up nearly $42 million during this period.

The restructuring advisors, Alvarez & Marsal, who are serving as financial counsels to FTX, charged almost $28 million. Likewise, Paul Hastings, the representative for unsecured creditors, levied charges in excess of $5.5 million.

However, the independent auditor, Katherine Stadler, deemed these charges not to be “wholly unreasonable.”

According to Stadler, the extraordinary aspect of the FTX bankruptcy is the unique nature of its business. FTX operated within a largely unregulated financial system, adding an extra layer of difficulty in navigating the bankruptcy process.

This coupled with the company’s global reach, lack of corporate records, and deficient corporate governance are contributing to the skyrocketing fees.

Prioritizing creditors: A delicate balance in costs

The FTX bankruptcy is shaping up to be costly even by the standard of major corporate bankruptcies. The current expenses represent over 2% of the company’s $5 billion in reported assets.

But despite the high costs, Stadler’s report concluded that prudent management of administrative expenses could lead to improved outcomes for the creditors.

FTX, once a leading figure in the financial technology sector, is grappling with an estimated 1 million potential creditors.

These creditors, ranging from former customers and suppliers to lenders, will need to vie with each other for a share of FTX’s remaining assets. Navigating these claims while maintaining an equitable distribution will further add to the expenses.

Complicating matters further is the federal indictment against FTX’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried. Bankman-Fried, who has pleaded not guilty, has contested the appointment of Sullivan & Cromwell as the defunct exchange’s counsel, citing a conflict of interest due to the firm’s prior engagement with the exchange.

Given these challenges, the conclusion of the FTX bankruptcy proceedings seems distant. However, the case serves as a stark reminder of the costs and complications that can arise from bankruptcy proceedings, particularly for businesses operating within unregulated financial systems.

Disclaimer: The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decision.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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