Newly Released Emails: Sam Bankman-Fried Requested In-Person Meeting with FTX CEO John Ray
Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, requested to meet with the new FTX CEO, John Ray.
On January 2, Bankman-Fried wrote an email letter to Ray, a bankruptcy expert who took over the firm after it filed for bankruptcy in November last year, offering his help with regard to funds or "anything else," Bloomberg reported Monday. He said in the email:
"I know things haven’t gotten off on the right foot but I really do want to be helpful — whether on the funds or on anything else."
The move came just one day before the disgraced crypto boss pleaded not guilty to fraud and other charges.
Notably, Ray has previously lashed out at SBF and former FTX management for their utter lack of financial and other record-keeping, which makes it difficult to trace funds. Last year, he said FTX collapsed because of the "concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals."
As reported, SBF has been trying to contact and influence some potential witnesses of his trial via the encrypted messaging software Signal. Last week, federal prosecutors said he has reached out to the “current General Counsel of FTX US who may be a witness at trial.” The current council for FTX US is Ryne Miller, who was also a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis.
Aside from Miller, SBF has also been in contact with “other current and former FTX employees,” the filing said. US authorities claim SBF's request suggests an effort to influence the witness’s testimony and that his effort to improve his relationship with Miller “may itself constitute witness tampering.”
The US Department of Justice has also opposed FTX hiring Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm currently tasked with the exchange's investigation, citing potential conflicts of interest. That is because Miller, general counsel of FTX US, previously worked at S&C for eight years. The DOJ said the investigation would place the law firm "in the conflicted position of investigating itself and its former partner."
FTX and its group of crypto companies filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early November. Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, was later arrested in The Bahamas after US prosecutors formally filed criminal charges against him. He was eventually extradited to the US where he was released from jail after posting a $250m bond in a New York court.
SBF has been charged with eight criminal charges including wire fraud and conspiracy by misusing customer funds. He is due in federal court in October.