OpinionThe curious timing of ‘scammy’ Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto-bust

The curious timing of ‘scammy’ Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto-bust

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When alleged crypto-fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried completed testifying at a congressional listening to final December, Democrat Maxine Waters, chair of the Home Monetary Providers Committee, blew him a kiss as he walked by.

And why not, because the shambolic 30-year-old former multibillionaire is acknowledged to be the second-biggest donor to the Democrats, after George Soros. 

He helped bankroll Joe Biden into the White Home and had promised to donate $1 billion to assist the get together win the 2024 presidential election. 

There are these, akin to Elon Musk, who allege that SBF, as he’s referred to as, already has funneled $1 billion of stolen buyer funds to Dem causes through varied darkish cash PACs. Others on Wall Road put the quantity decrease, at perhaps $500 million. 

Maybe that was the complete level of FTX, not less than in the long run.

Now the jittery video-game addict faces federal costs in Manhattan of cash laundering, and marketing campaign finance violations together with wire and securities fraud. 

So it most likely ought to have been no shock that SBF was a no-show Tuesday for what ought to have been hostile questioning at a listening to of the Home Monetary Providers Committee, presided over by his fairy godmother Waters.

Sam Bankman-Fried testifies on Feb. 9, 2022.
Bankman-Fried faces eight felony costs over FTX.
AFP through Getty Photographs

Some members had been mentioned to be trying ahead to a very good grilling of the alleged fraudster, about what occurred to the $8 billion that’s gone lacking from his collapsed cryptocurrency change FTX. 

And it’s truthful to say, some weren’t.

Because it turned out, Democrats — and maybe Republicans — had been spared the embarrassment. SBF was conveniently arrested within the Bahamas, simply hours earlier than his Zoom testimony earlier than Chairman Waters’ listening to. 

She was oh so dissatisfied that SBF couldn’t seem, however the listening to would wrestle on, listening to from FTX’s new chapter CEO John Ray III in regards to the terribly lax document preserving in what he referred to as a “paperless chapter.” “By no means in my profession have I seen such a whole failure of company controls.”

Rep. Maxine Waters speaks during a House Committee on Financial Services hearing on April 6, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Rep. Maxine Waters blew Bankman-Fried a kiss at a congressional listening to final December.
AP

That’s fairly one thing coming from the previous Enron liquidator.

However wouldn’t you assume, if you happen to had been a prosecutor, that you’d be bitterly dissatisfied to have missed the chance of seeing garrulous younger Sam testify underneath oath for hours, earlier than you arrested him? What distinction would a number of extra hours have made?

The excuse floated within the media is that he was a “flight danger.” However his mom, Stanford College legislation professor Barbara Fried, reportedly laughed out loud at her son’s extradition listening to Tuesday in a Nassau court docket when he was referred to as a “fugitive.”

Former prosecutors smelled a rat. Republican Rep. William Timmons, of South Carolina, a member of Waters’ committee, referred to as the timing of SBF’s arrest “weird.”

“I’ve prosecuted complicated white-collar instances. The considered getting six hours of congressional grilling for the goal of an investigation, or a defendant, that may be nice for my case.”

Timmons identified that the Manhattan grand jury returned SBF’s indictment final Friday, Dec. 9. “Technically, you might delay weeks if you wish to. So, this was a call made by any person on the DOJ to forestall Sam Bankman-Fried from coming right here.”

It wasn’t simply Republicans who thought the timing of SBF’s arrest was suspicious.

Gary Gensler testifies on Sept. 15, 2022.
Securities and Trade Fee Chairman Gary Gensler met with Sam Bankman-Fried twice over the previous yr.
Reuters

Democrat Jake Auchincloss of Massachusetts requested Ray: “Do we have now your dedication that . . . if you happen to discover any proof of improper collusion between Mr. Bankman-Fried and any authorities, within the Bahamas and elsewhere, you make that identified to us?”

“Completely,” mentioned Ray, however actually, how will he ever know? He has his palms full trying on the financials, akin to they’re, of the corporate. Determining why the arrest was timed to go well with SBF’s protection counsel just isn’t in his remit.

Republican John Rose of Tennessee drily described the timing as “attention-grabbing” and took a well-deserved swipe at Securities and Trade Fee Chairman Gary Gensler.

“As a recovering legal professional, it makes me surprise why a prosecutor wouldn’t wish to probably add mendacity to Congress to accompany the checklist of costs in opposition to Mr. Bankman-Fried,” Rose mentioned.

“It additionally makes me surprise why the SEC waited till right now to file its personal costs . . .

“Chairman Gensler has failed at his job, and worst of all, he has failed to guard traders. . .

“Whereas he has been asleep on the wheel, the Democratic majority has did not have him testify to this committee for over 14 months, which I imagine is a disservice to traders.”

Lee Zeldin speaks onstage.
Lee Zeldin steered Bankman-Fried’s Monday arrest occurred to forestall the ex-CEO from testifying about his relationship with Gensler.
Matthew McDermott

Gensler, the previous finance chief of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign, has so much to clarify about FTX’s collapse.

Why, for example, did he meet with SBF twice over the previous yr, unprecedented entry for the goal of a significant fraud, in response to Publish contributing enterprise commentator Charlie Gasparino.

And why did Gensler scrub from his public calendar particulars of conferences together with his outdated boss Hillary Clinton, Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and SBF’s fellow billionaire Democratic donor George Soros, as reported this week by Fox Information?

Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, a former prosecutor who has served on the Home Monetary Providers Committee, had his personal theories about why SBF was nabbed earlier than he may sing. 

“It looks as if you’re attempting to guard somebody,” he mentioned, surmising the motive might have been to forestall SBF from testifying about his relationship with Gensler. 

Former prosecutor Andy McCarthy, as soon as an SDNY assistant US legal professional, is equally perplexed, saying the one clarification that is sensible, other than incompetence by prosecutors, “is that they didn’t just like the prospect of what was going to come back out on the hearings . . .

“So, the Democrats who run the Justice Division accommodate the Democrats who run the committee,” he advised Fox Information.

Nobody believes SBF’s declare that he donated simply as a lot cash to Republicans as he did to Democrats, and there’s no proof to again him up. However FTX did funnel a number of million to chosen Republicans, which appears to have labored out as an insurance coverage coverage for Democrats at Waters’ listening to Tuesday. Low-cost safety whether it is.

In response to a key phrase search of the CSPAN transcript, in 4 hours of testimony by Ray, not one query was requested about marketing campaign donations by both facet. 

The closest was Republican Invoice Huizenga of Michigan. “Mr. Bankman-Fried has, let’s say, wooed many in New York and Silicon Valley, [and] right here in DC . . . All people beloved the thrilling thought of a politically progressive, sensible entrepreneur, who was going to reimagine capitalism and alter the world, feeling higher about themselves, all whereas making them gobs of cash.”

The gobs of cash went nearly totally to Democrats. Are Republicans actually going to offer them a free cross due to the embarrassment of admitting they took some ill-gotten crumbs off the desk? They need to pay all of it again to allow them to work with clear palms, as a result of you possibly can guess there shall be one other rip-off for 2024.

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