FTX Trading has taken legal action against its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, and other former executives in an attempt to recover $1 billion. Reuters reported on Thursday that funds were allegedly misappropriated before FTX’s bankruptcy.
The defendants in the complaint are former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh, former FTX technology chief Zixiao “Gary” Wang, and Caroline Ellison, who led the hedge fund Alameda Research. FTX Trading brought the case forward in Delaware bankruptcy court.
Continued Misuse of Funds By FTX Executives
FTX sues Sam Bankman-Fried and other defendants for consistently misusing funds. The complaint states that they financed a luxury lifestyle and carried out personal projects with the funds. Which, in turn, lead to one of the “largest financial frauds.”
According to the Reuters report, the fraudulent transfers allegedly occurred between February 2020 and November 2022. FTX sought Chapter 11 protection in November.
It details fraudulent transfers of more than $725 million. The amount consisted of equity that FTX and West Realm Shires awarded “without receiving any value in exchange.”
In addition, Bankman-Fried, and Ellison allegedly pocketed $546 million. It was reportedly to purchase Robinhood Markets stock while Ellison paid herself bonuses of $28.8 million. The complaint also claimed that a portion of Bankman-Fried’s legal defense was paid for by a $10 million “gift.” It is alleged that he handed that amount to his father.
As per FTX, these transfers are reversible under Delaware or US bankruptcy law. Considering the executives made them while being aware that the entities are insolvent.
Other Legal Battles of the Fallen FTX Crypto Exchange
FTX has been part of several legal actions since its bankruptcy in November. Last week, it sued the founders of Digital Assets AG, seeking to recover $323.5 million for a “massive overpayment” after acquiring the company for $400 million.
The exchange also filed a lawsuit against its European arm. The complaint alleged that Sam Bankman-Fried and associates used the funds for personal enrichment instead of expanding into Europe.
In May, Alameda Research and West Realm Shires sued Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives, accusing them of inflating the valuation of a stock clearing platform before the exchange’s collapse.
John Ray III is spearheading the lawsuits against FTX entities. The American attorney is well-known for his skill in recovering money from bankrupt companies, including Enron.
Caroline Ellison, the Star Witness
Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, is expected to be a key witness in Sam Bankman-Fried’s upcoming criminal trial scheduled for Oct. 2.
The CEO reportedly expressed self-doubt and worries about her leadership abilities in a memo in February 2022, three months before the collapse of the cryptocurrency market, according to The New York Times. She also listed her weaknesses in “leadership” and “decisiveness” in an April 2022 document.
Ellison’s writings provide insights into her psyche during the latter several months of FTX, highlighting the nuanced nature of her friendship with Bankman-Fried and her conflicted feelings towards Alameda.
Ellison’s testimonies could hold paramount importance in the lawsuit. The court could consider Bankman-Fried’s relationship with Ellison and the fact that she was an early employee. She earlier expressed that she was “truly sorry” for engaging in fraud in court in December. Two additional senior FTX executives, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh, have also pleaded guilty.
According to sources for the newspaper, the trial, which is expected to last four to five weeks, will center on communications between Bankman-Fried and the collaborating witnesses on the messaging service Signal.
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