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SBF’s family controlled $100 million in political donations

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SBF's family controlled $100 million in political donationsJoe Bankman and Barbara Fried, parents of FTX co-founder Sam "SBF" Bankman-Fried. Credits: Bloomberg

In this post:

  • Emails reveal Sam Bankman-Fried’s family managed over $100 million in political donations from stolen FTX funds.
  • Sam’s father, Joe, and his brother, Gabriel, were deeply involved in coordinating and directing these contributions.

Emails recently revealed by The Wall Street Journal show Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried’s family managed over $100 million in political donations.

Prosecutors say Sam used funds stolen from FTX customers for political contributions, aiming to influence the 2022 election.

Two former FTX executives, Ryan Salame and Nishad Singh, admitted guilt in an illegal straw-donor scheme to hide the source of their donations.

SBF's family controlled $100 million in political donations
Samuel Bankman-Fried, convicted felon and founder of FTX

According to WSJ, Ryan directed money to Republicans to keep SBF’s name out of it, while Nishad supported liberal candidates.

Two months ago, Judge Lewis Kaplan sentenced Ryan to 7½ years in prison, which will start in August. Nishad is still awaiting sentencing, and Sam was hit with a 25-year prison sentence after being found guilty of multiple fraud counts.

The father

Among the details in the emails was SBF’s father, Joe Bankman, advising Ryan on how to withdraw funds.

SBF's family controlled $100 million in political donations
Professor Joe Bankman. Credits: WSJ

Eventually, Joe introduced him to FTX’s tax lawyers at Fenwick & West, demanding they discuss the millions Ryan had taken from Alameda Research. Joe’s email states:

“Alameda has distributed a lot of money to Ryan, which he has used to make political donations. (Ryan is the key employee who works on the other side of the aisle, as it were). Ryan and I talked about categorizing these as loans.”

At the time, Joe was employed by FTX and Stanford Law School. He has denied any knowledge of campaign finance violations.

But David Mason, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission who reviewed the emails, said Joe’s remarks are strong evidence of his knowledge of the illegal scheme.

Mason said:

“If Bankman knew about the contributions in the name of another while they were going on, he could be held directly liable as an accomplice.”

The mother

Barbara Fried, the mother, also directed spending from her son’s crypto wealth. In August 2021, WSJ said she sent an email to Sam and Nishad Singh requesting $92,000 to fund two projects under their new Research Initiative.

She identified two progressive-leaning groups, New Virginia Majority and Activate America. Sam responded, “Sure.”

SBF's family controlled $100 million in political donations
Professor Barbara Fried. Credits: Getty Images

Barbara founded Mind the Gap, a super political-action committee dedicated to helping Democrats win elections. Legal experts have argued that her advice was in no way inappropriate or illegal.

The brother

Gabriel Bankman-Fried, SBF’s younger brother, was also having his own fun. Apparently, in 2022, Gabriel asked Sam to contribute to many Democratic politicians and groups, including Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Cory Booker of New Jersey.

He provided detailed bullet-point lists of desired contributions and specified whether they should come from Sam’s personal fortune or FTX.

SBF's family controlled $100 million in political donations
Gabriel Bankman-Fried

SBF often responded with brief confirmations like “done!”, while Ryan handled many of the wire transfers, according to WSJ.

Gabriel’s largest request was a $5 million donation to Guarding Against Pandemics, an advocacy group he “founded” in 2020. Michael Tremonte, Gabriel and his mother Barbara Fried’s attorney, claimed:

“Gabe’s political fundraising supported like-minded policymakers who saw pandemic prevention as among the most critical issues facing humanity.”

Nishad’s involvement in the political donation scheme was partly aimed at helping SBF save on taxes. In September 2021, Gabriel emailed this to his brother:

“I’m going to ask Nishad (in a separate thread) to make gifts publicly to politically-minded folks in our network…to save you gift tax $. The gifts will be in the hundreds of thousands to low million depending on the value of the person and the need for $.”

Nishad, who has been friends with Gabriel since their school days in California, testified during Sam’s trial in October. He stated that he initially accepted his role as a political donor but later became a more passive participant. “After some point in time, my role was to click a button,” said Nishad.


Reporting by Jai Hamid

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 decisions.

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