As the dust begins to settle around FTX, recent discoveries unveil evidence of deliberate misconduct that pushes the boundaries of the organization’s alleged financial mismanagement to new heights. John J Ray III, spearheading the investigation, is rigorously digging through the jumbled mess of FTX’s internal operations, hoping to salvage the maximum possible for the beleaguered company’s creditors.
FTX’s Previous Management Faces Legal Repercussions
A fresh lawsuit targeted at the former top executives of FTX—namely SBF, Ellison, Wang, and Singh—has come to light. The suit accuses these individuals of breaching fiduciary duties, among other offenses. Central to this case is the allegation that Bankman-Fried was fully aware of a shadowy “liability of $8 billion” held in an obscure, improperly marked internal fiat account. This information, it seems, was shared selectively with potential investors.
FTX’s new management has accused SBF of willfully classifying customer funds as a liability. This allegation is particularly notable as it suggests that the customers’ funds were inappropriately merged with the assets of FTX. In a display of bravado, SBF claimed that FTX was beyond the reach of an audit earlier.
Unearthed FTX Deficits and Speculations
Surprisingly, Bloomberg’s report suggests that Caroline Ellison had scrutinized the FTX Group’s operations as far back as March 2022, concluding that the cryptocurrency titan could not repay its customers an $8 billion debt. This sum, however, is only a part of a larger $10 billion deficit.
The present management at FTX can only guess where these substantial funds have been misappropriated. The linked court document notes that their speculations are far from comforting.
Misuse of Funds and Exorbitant Bonuses
FTX is no stranger to speculative investments, as evidenced by its history of pouring money into high-risk areas like margin trading and budding startups. Moreover, the erstwhile leadership did not shy away from diverting substantial sums for ostentatious bonuses, ostensibly for their commendable company management.
Bloomberg reports that shortly after Ellison unearthed the substantial shortfall in FTX’s budget, she awarded herself a staggering $22.5 million bonus. These funds were subsequently used for various purposes, including investment in an AI startup under her name. Similarly, Nishad Singh reportedly received FTX shares worth an estimated $477 million at no cost.
FTX Investments in Questionable Projects
The former CEO operated on a different wavelength, investing in several dubious projects and sinking $546 million of Alameda client’s money into Robinhood.
Legal documents reveal that the FTX foundation was involved in speculative and fantastical ventures. An internal memo suggests SBF had proposed purchasing the island of Nauru to construct a doomsday bunker for the Effective Altruism movement—a cause he fervently supported.
This plan implied that in the event of a societal collapse, EAs “could survive, and develop sensible regulation around human genetic enhancement, and build a lab there,” among other activities.
This ongoing investigation, as it continues to unearth questionable actions and ethically dubious conduct of FTX’s former leadership, serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of corporate transparency and fiscal responsibility in today’s rapidly evolving financial landscape.