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Bankman-Fried Met With White House Aides On Crypto Policy Before FTX Collapse
Sam Bankman-Fried, the now-disgraced cryptocurrency mogul, held at least four meetings with senior White House officials this year — part of a push to influence crypto policy and build connections in Washington before his FTX empire ultimately collapsed.
Ankita K.
4:54 30th Dec, 2022
Markets

Bankman-Fried met Sept. 8 with Steve Ricchetti, one of President Joe Biden’s senior advisers, White House officials familiar with the matter said. The meeting, previously unreported, was the latest in a handful of sessions.

Bankman-Fried had at least three others previously disclosed in White House visitor logs. They include one April 22 and another May 12, each with Ricchetti, and one a day later, on May 13, with Bruce Reed, another senior Biden aide, officials confirmed. The final meeting is recorded in logs as two meetings held back-to-back, but was one meeting, officials said. Some of the prior White House meetings included others from FTX.

His brother, Gabriel Bankman-Fried, is recorded in a March meeting of his own and then took part in the May 13 session for a total of at least five this year that involved one or both of the brothers.

Sam Bankman-Fried, once a fixture in Washington, is now facing criminal charges for his role in the collapse of his crypto empire that’s left investors facing billions of dollars in potential losses.

The brothers’ White House meetings focused on general discussion of the crypto industry and exchanges, as well as pandemic prevention related to the foundation, Guarding Against Pandemics, run by Gabe Bankman-Fried, an official said. The White House declined further comment.

FTX’s ties to Washington have come under scrutiny since the exchange’s collapse. Sam Bankman-Fried gave millions of dollars to Democrats, making him the party’s second-biggest individual donor in the 2022 election cycle. One of his former top lieutenants, Ryan Salame, was also a massive donor but backed Republicans.

One person familiar with the meetings, speaking on condition they not be identified, said that politics was not discussed at the White House meetings.

While Bankman-Fried, or SBF as he’s known, lived in the Bahamas, he made frequent trips to Washington — testifying before Congress and meeting with key regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as with White House officials.

The former billionaire often espoused the need for greater regulation for crypto and touted himself and his companies as ethical actors in the space.

But US prosecutors now paint a starkly different picture, alleging a slew of misconduct, including allegedly conspiring with others to use corporate money and shadow donors for political contributions and misusing billions of dollars of customers’ funds lent to FTX’s sister company Alameda Research.

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