Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX wined and dined top regulator official at ritzy DC restaurant, emails show

Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX wined and dined top regulator official at ritzy DC restaurant, emails show

  • December 20, 2022

Gabe Kaminsky, Washington Examiner

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced former FTX CEO facing prison time, wined and dined a top government regulator official at a swanky Washington, D.C., restaurant with his FTX colleagues while lobbying for friendly industry regulations, emails show.

On Oct. 5, 2021, Bankman-Fried, FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller, and then-FTX President Brett Harrison went to dinner at the luxury Indian restaurant Rasika West End with Dan Berkovitz, who at the time was a commissioner for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, one of several agencies that regulate cryptocurrency, according to emails obtained by the watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust and shared with the Washington Examiner.

It remains unclear what was discussed at the dinner, which occurred while Bankman-Fried was lobbying the CFTC to amend trading rules that would have given FTX more freedom and power over the cryptocurrency world. The former CEO courted the CFTC to back a proposal that would let FTX customers borrow trading money — which some officials reportedly supported secretly even though some regulators lamented it would destabilize markets.

“If ever there were a scene to conjure up a vision of a D.C. rigged toward corrupt insiders at the expense of the little guy, it would be difficult to top this one,” Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, told the Washington Examiner. “Not long before its collapse and a raft of fraud charges, SBF and his gang were wooing one of their would-be regulators no doubt to try to manipulate the regulations to their advantage.”

The emails are yet another window into Bankman-Fried and FTX’s once-cozy relationship with the U.S. government. But that relationship has now been destroyed amid the exchange’s shocking collapse.

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