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FTX CEO Under Fire as Crypto Company Fails

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FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, and business partner of Ryan Salame, could be locked away for scamming over 5 million people and their money. 

Bankman-Fried’s crypto company, FTX, transferred at least $10 billion in customer funds to his trading firm Alameda Research, according to reports from several news outlets— and about $2 billion have gone missing. FTX’s native cryptocurrency, FTT, as well as shares from Robinhood, were among the many whose funds were stolen, reports stated. 

Bankman-Fried, otherwise known as SBF, has stepped down from his position as CEO— and has filed bankruptcy protection for FTX. 

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and now Twitter, had a financial encounter with Bankman-Fried— and expressed doubts. 

Musk’s banker, Michael Grimes, said Bankman-Fried offered at least $3 billion to help Musk buy Twitter, according to texts leaked by Twitter user Internal Tech Emails on Friday. 

“Does Sam actually have $3B liquid?” Musk asked Grimes. 

After the texts were leaked, Musk made a statement on Twitter: “Accurate. He set off my bs detector, which is why I did not think he had $3B.”

Since then, Musk has posted several memes about Bankman-Fried and his situation.

For months, The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have been investigating FTX and their mishandling of customer funds, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. 

FTX terminated customer withdrawals last week after $5 billion worth of withdrawal requests were made on Sunday. 

Bankman-Fried admitted to his wrongdoing this past week in a thread on Twitter: “I sincerely apologize. We’ll keep sharing updates as we have them.”

Ryan Salame (pronounced SALEM), is the co-CEO of FTX, and boyfriend of Michelle Bond who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in New York’s First Congressional District. FTX paid Bond $200,000 for consulting this year, according to the Federal Election Commission in August. 

Pictured: Ryan Salame. (Credit: The Berkshire Eagle)
Pictured: Michelle Bond. (Credit: CoinDesk)

Salame has invested over $6 million in Lenox restaurant and owns about half of the full-service establishments, according to The Berkshire Eagle.

On Sunday, Salame tweeted: “It’s so powerful learning who your friends are! Very excited to grow with them in the long term. It’s not hard to genuinely figure out who cares about customers and who doesn’t if you look past the insanity.”

This is quite different from an August tweet Salame wrote about working with Bankman-Fried: “Absolute honor working for this man, one of the most caring / humble / genuine people I’ve ever met.” 

Several news outlets have reached out to FTX for comment— they have not replied to any requests. 

Some notable investors in FTX include athletes and celebrities like Tom Brady and ex-wife Gisele Bündchen, Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry, 4-Time NBA championship star Shaquille O’Neal and many others. 

“We were screaming from the rooftops back in June that these people [Michelle Bond, Ryan Salame and Sam Bankman-Fried] are frauds,” Peter Ganley, 26, former assembly candidate in the First District told The Messenger. There was some fishy stuff going on with Bankman-Fried and his partner in crime, Ryan Salame, tried to infiltrate our election here in Suffolk County. And now it turns out they stole from people.”

“Bankman-Fried was one of the top donors to Democrats nationwide and all of a sudden this news breaks after an election that has already been influenced,” added Ganley. 

The billionaire who said he would donate $1 billion to Biden’s 2024 campaign has allegedly fled to Argentina from the Bahamas, according to View From the Wing. Though, his Argentina safe haven destination is known for extradition. 

Daniella Rodriguez-Rebolledo
Daniella Rodriguez-Rebolledo
Lead Reporter for The Messenger Papers. Aspiring Broadcast/Multimedia Journalist/Reporter. Discusses Politics and Sports.