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Fraud Case: Is Bankman-Fried's Closeness to White House & Democratic Party Paying off?

© AFP 2023 / ED JONESFTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the courthouse following his arraignment in New York City on December 22, 2022.
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried leaves the courthouse following his arraignment in New York City on December 22, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2022
Sam Bankman-Fried, an FTX founder charged with fraud and money laundering, had held at least four meetings with senior White House officials before his crypto-currency exchange collapsed, according to Bloomberg. Bankman-Fried's brother, Gabriel, has been seen at least twice in the executive mansion.
Accused crypto-fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, also referred to as SBF, met with Steve Ricchetti, one of President Joe Biden’s senior advisors, on September 8, 2022. Previously disclosed White House logs indicate that SBF held three other meetings at the official residence of the US president. One took place on April 22, 2022 and another May 12, 2022 – each with Ricchetti – and another one on May 13, 2022, with a different senior Biden aide, Bruce Reed.
SBF's younger brother Gabriel Bankman-Fried, a former Wall Street trader and the ex-director of the non-profit Guarding Against Pandemics and its associated political action committee (PAC), visited the White House on his own in March 2022, and attended the May 13 White House meeting together with Sam.
SBF is famous for being a Democratic Party "mega-donor." According to the US press, he was one of just a handful of donors who spent over $10 million on Joe Biden's campaign in 2020, and hired a network of political operatives and spent around $38 million on the Democratic Party's midterm campaign, being second only to liberal American-Hungarian tycoon George Soros.
Image capture of FTX owner and founder Sam Bankman-Fried at The New York Times' DealBook Summit where he attempted to explain the multi-billion dollar collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.12.2022
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SBF's parents, Joe Bankman and Barbara Fried, have long been staunch supporters of the Democratic Party. Barbara Fried was the co-founder of Mind the Gap, a secretive Silicon Valley PAC that reportedly funneled millions of dollars to Democratic candidates and groups across the country in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles. For his part, Joe Bankman, a tax expert, worked for SBF's company, according to the US media.
The recent disclosure of SBF's regular visits to the executive mansion as well as his generosity is raising some inconvenient questions about the Democratic Party's ties with the accused crook. Moreover, some American financial observers do not rule out that Bahamas-headquartered FTX could have been used to quietly funnel crypto from foreign countries for Democrat campaigns, which is prohibited by US law.
Last week, Rolling Stone broke that Democratic lawmakers are now preparing internal investigations about SBF's donations and getting ready for any potential restitution to victims of Bankman-Fried’s crimes. "We’re doing an internal audit to identify individuals who have ties or possible ties to Sam Bankman-Fried and will set aside those funds until we receive guidance on what to do with it," Representative-elect Maxwell Frost's (D-Fla.) office told the media outlet.
An illustration picture taken in London on May 8, 2022, shows gold plated souvenir cryptocurrency Tether (USDT), Bitcoin and Etherium coins arranged beside a screen displaying a trading chart. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.12.2022
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SBF's Arrest

Earlier this month, SBF was charged by prosecutors for the Southern District of New York with wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering. He was arrested at his luxury residence in the Bahamas by local authorities at the US' request.
SBF's brainchild, FTX, was a Bahamas-based crypto-currency exchange which allowed customers to trade crypto or digital currencies for other assets, such as conventional fiat money or other digital currencies. It was founded in 2019, but abruptly collapsed on November 8, 2022, soon after the US midterm elections.
Immediately following the indictment release, a magistrate judge in the Bahamas denied bail to SBF, referring to heightened flight risk, and announced that the disgraced financier should be remanded to Bahamian custody until February 8, 2023.
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$250 Million Bail & Release

However, on December 19, it was reported that SBF had agreed to be extradited to the US. On December 22, he appeared in a US court and was then released on a whopping $250 million bond. Given that it was earlier reported that SBF's wealth had zeroed after FTX collapsed, many asked how he managed to pay the bail. He claims to only have $100,000. The other question raised by US observers was why such a high-profile defendant was allowed to go free.
It is known that SBF's parents used their house in Palo Alto, California to secure the bail. There are also two other mysterious co-signers to the court's bond. The federal bail does not require them to fork out immediately, but the aforementioned signatories will be on the hook if SBF fails to show up for court or is found to have violated other conditions set by the judge.
According to the US press, these conditions include: first, SBF must surrender his travel documents and stay at his parent's house; second, he must not start any new business; third, he may not enter into any financial transactions of more than $1,000, except to pay his legal fees; fourth, he will be monitored electronically.
The judge assigned to SBF's case is also a stellar one. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, a Bill Clinton appointee, presided in Osama bin Laden's son-in-law case; he also heard the case over sex abuse accusations against Prince Andrew before it was settled earlier this year. Kaplan presided over the civil trial of Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey and is currently overseeing a civil case brought by former Elle Magazine advice columnist E. Jean Carroll against Donald Trump.
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Luxurious Flight Home
Meanwhile, Sam left for his parents' Palo Alto home, without having to pay any money. He was then spotted at John F. Kennedy International Airport's American Airlines Flagship lounge, which boasts a local chef, specialty cocktail bar, shower suites, wine table, and personalized service, according to the British media. Later, SBF was seen in a business class seat on an AA flight, relaxing without his shoes and chatting with a person beside him.
In short, it appears that the high-profile crook and former Democratic mega-donor is being treated with kid gloves. As one British newspaper remarked, "crime does pay."
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