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FTX used corporate funds to purchase employee homes, new filing shows (cnbc.com)
420 points by koolba 71 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 425 comments



Once again I need to poin tout the shocking truth that FTX had no CFO [1]. The CFO's experience and reputation is waht gives investors and regulators confidence that the financial statements that the CFO literally signs off on are valid.

Listed companies on the NASDAQ and NYSE have lots of requirements here (eg internal and external audits). Obviously these don't apply to FTX but the truly shocking thing here is the likes of Sequoia and other sophisticated investors did not require an adult in the room in the form of a CFO.

They literally handed billions of dollars to a 20-something with absolutely no supervision or accountability. I would not be surprised if this lack of oversight doesn't land them in court from customers and other investors. You may think they are shielded from this through limited liability and corporate structures but that doesn't innoculate them against tort claims and you could probably make the case they are recklessly negligent or even as far as being liable in conspiracy to commit fraud (before or after the fact).

SBF engaged in on-the-record messages with a reporter about this. This is how clueless this man is. He either doesn't have lawyers or he's ignoring them as any lawyer will tell you to STFU [2]. No good can come of this ans. SBF and his cohorts are facing the prospect of being on the run for the rest of their lives from US authorities or possibly even spending the rest of their lives in prison.

It's that serious.

[1]: https://www.ledgerinsights.com/ftx-warning-signs-no-cfo/

[2]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgWHrkDX35o


> He either doesn't have lawyers...

His parents are both lawyers! And law professors! Specializing in compliance and ethics!


This blame game again. Look, the universe is a deterministic machine. SBF or his mom and dad are no more to blame than you were when you accidentally squashed a bug walking this morning! Should we start taking everyone to account for their actions? Where will this end?


I don't blame them. It's just a darkly hilarious juxtaposition.


(drum drum):

Barbara H. Fried aka mom, Beyond Blame, 2013:

https://nitter.net/ShellenbergerMD/status/159311376898027520...


And they didn't tell him to shut up and stop incriminating himself.


Follow the links through the other article gives this:

> Bankman-Fried and FTX “management practices included the use of an unsecured group email account as the root user to access confidential private keys and critically sensitive data for the FTX Group companies around the world, the absence of daily reconciliation of positions on the blockchain, the use of software to conceal the misuse of customer funds.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/17/ftx-ceo-shreds-bankman-fried...

Everything up to that last part could be chalked up to idiot savants doing their thing. But as the saying goes, the cover up is the crime.


how did ftx successfully raise so much vc money recently? do these top vc firms do no due diligence?


That's one theory.

Of course, given the depth of financial depravity on display here and the incredible thinness of the financial defense, one must also entertain the theory that they did do the due diligence, they were aware of how dangerous this was, and they invested anyhow for other reasons. And that those reasons are probably not good.

There have been many cases where companies go to great lengths to do accounting alchemy to fool even very smart auditors, but we are clearly not dealing with that here. Binance or whoever was offering to buy FTX out literally figured out within single-digit hours of looking at FTX's books that they were not interested. A person skilled in the art can literally glance at these books and figure out that they are worthless. I do not believe there is any credible theory that any investor could possibly have been unaware of these issues.

FTX's books don't so much have red flags as that they are printed on red flags, with ink derived from red flags, a custom-made red cover made out of more red flags, and each page, when opened, has pop-up red flags along with a little electronic speaker that plays Red Flag by Antigoni while you get sprayed with Red Flag perfume [1].

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKk91x0Yg7Q


"FTX's books don't so much have red flags as that they are printed on red flags, with ink derived from red flags, a custom-made red cover made out of more red flags, and each page, when opened, has pop-up red flags along with a little electronic speaker that plays Red Flag by Antigoni while you get sprayed with Red Flag perfume [1]."

OMG - I'm dying here. You really shouldn't have buried that at the bottom of your reply because many will miss it. Perfectly written. I love it.


Somewhat related Soviet joke:

A Westerner arrives in the USSR. Walks absentmindedly along the street, boom, open manhole, falls down, climbs up all covered in sewage, shouts, furious: “What the hell? Couldn’t they have put up a red flag or something like normal people?” A passerby replies: “You’re from the airport?” “Yeah.” “You’ve seen the huge red flag on the roof, right?”


> I do not believe there is any credible theory that any investor could possibly have been unaware of these issues.

I'm not convinced that the issues that caused Binance to back out even existed the last time FTX raised outside capital (March 2022 according to Crunchbase). My understanding is that in March, FTX had a basically normal balance sheet for a crypto exchange, with roughly enough non-FTT assets to balance against its liabilities.

Alameda was an over-leveraged crypto hedge fund, which in hindsight wasn't great news for Alameda's investors or creditors. But there's a world where Alameda goes to zero but FTX is mostly fine. After all, FTX would automatically recalculate margin levels and liquidate assets as needed every 30 seconds. If they did that with Alameda like they would have for an arms length counterparty....I'm not going to say that FTX would have been unscathed - a lot of those loans seem to have been secured by FTT, plus Alameda seems to have made up a lot of FTX's trading volume - but the end result of incinerating billions of dollars' worth of customer deposits wasn't inevitable. IMO, FTX's fate wasn't sealed until its management team built a backdoor into its systems to siphon customers' assets to Alameda. And that probably didn't happen til summer, months after its last funding round.


It appears (although everything is unclear) that the 8bn hole was caused by customer dollar payments for ftx going to alameda as ftx didn’t actually have a bank account. For three years. So unclear it was ever good.


This alone is quite incredible. FTX, as a business, never actually existed. It was all just a smoke screen for his hedge fund.

Employees were stealing from the company, there were no internal controls...the rules for VC are...different. If you were on a Board and this happened on your watch, you would never work on another Board again. If you did this in PE, fired. If you invested in such a public company, very likely fired or irreparable damage to your reputation.

Sequoia are a huge fund, they are one of the doyens of the industry...it isn't even that they failed, they didn't even put in place the mechanism to try to protect their investor's money. It is unbelivable.


I agree with you, but to play devil's advocate:

>Sequoia are a huge fund, they are one of the doyens of the industry...it isn't even that they failed, they didn't even put in place the mechanism to try to protect their investor's money. It is unbelivable.

Don't VCs typically expect 9 of 10 investments to fail, but for the one which succeeds to more than make up for the rest? From the VCs point of view, as long as the allocation to each company is balanced, does it even matter whether an investment resulted in 100% loss due to a scandalous fraud instead of "normal" company failure?


Yes, because the result here is that investor money has been stolen by employees.

Again, if you work at an equity fund and you invest in a company that was obviously fraudulent, your investors don't go: "Oh well, better luck next time...shit happens, amirite?". If this happens in a PE fund, where there is direct oversight, then I would suspect that the investors would remove you as a manager.

The only responsibility you have is to protect your shareholder's interests. Not only was this disregarded but Sequoia gave them the structure that allowed them to steal from their own investors.

I have never seen a situation like this that didn't end up in charges against the fund managers because it is such an egregious failure (this, of course, won't happen here...everyone here has donated far too much money...but I have seen this professionally).


It does matter, the risk calculation gets way worse once you start counting in the possibility of fraud. It's going to be 9/10 if each one of the 10 actually try their hardest to succeed. It's going to be 10/10 if fraud isn't prevented.


> It appears (although everything is unclear) that the 8bn hole was caused by customer dollar payments for ftx going to alameda as ftx didn’t actually have a bank account.

Despite the notional legal structure, I think the key thing is that FTX, FTX.US, Alameda Research, and the other 130 or so entities involved were mostly not, in any meaningful sense, distinct businesses, it was all just three grifters in a trenchcoat.


I wonder if those other reasons simply were the guy's background and pedigree. Silicon Valley is no different than Wall Street in its obsession with having the "right" educational background, having the "right" parents, having the "right" connections and so on. So many doors in corporate hiring can be bypassed with "Went to MIT" and "Stanford parents" and I wonder if they can also be bypassed by founders looking for investment.


That's at least one strong reason - VCs look at the person as much as the business.

Crypto was filled with sleazy car-salesman "investor" types at the time Alameda Research was looking for funding. So when in came someone with a Jane Street background and not a single flashy Ferrari in their driveway, the dam broke on VCs finally being able to pour money into the crypto space on a decent looking founder.


If that's how unsophisticated these VC operations are then I think we'll see a lot of them lose their shirts in the coming macroeconomic environment. Which will consequently make future funding rounds all the more difficult.


VCs only need to roll a crit hit on a 1d20 to stay afloat.

They're not going to lose their shirts, not as long as insanely wealthy people like to gamble.


Unless the Fed blinks.


Just today the Fed governors stated inflation has not been sufficiently curtailed... https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/17/feds-bullard-says-rate-hikes...


Sure, I'm just curious how we'll deal with interest payments on our debt, especially since our economy has evolved to thrive on low rates. The hikes are necessary, but I think they're going to kill a bunch of BS jobs, meanwhile we'll have to raise taxes to service the debt. Gonna be real interesting.


Nation debt isn't like a personal checkbook. As long as the economy grows just as fast or faster than the debt over time, then they're okay.


Sure, but we made the economy grow by keeping debt cheap. Now debt will be expensive and all signs point to the economy not growing in such an environment.


The closer to an election, the more likely the case


I am slightly baffled by this comment since my first impression of him was exactly "sleazy vibes". Not in the flashy Ferrari sense but because the look seemed to try so hard to be the opposite of flash - the nasty stretched out t-shirts, shorts and forever bed-head hair. It struck me as a contrived and something of a put on. Google "John Blutarsky Animal House." SBF appears to have patterned his look after Jon Belushi's character in that movie. I think you have to make an effort to look like that so consistently, especially when there are cameras around.


I can confirm that this kind of look is not at all atypical in the quantitative prop trading world and it's not contrived.


Well if it's so common as to be a kind of uniform isn't that the very definition of contrived? How else would you explain the phenomenon then, that slobs just naturally gravitate towards prop trading?


Plus both his parents are professors at Stanford Law school. I can see VCs having a natural bias towards "it would be unlikely for someone with this pedigree to operate so completely outside the law".


Unless - hypothetically - some of them were looking for someone who would operate outside the law, but with pedigree and credibility.

There was a lot of money involved. There was a huge network of shell companies to hide it.

VCs, who are supposed to know what due diligence is, looked at some hilariously unprofessional books and said "We like the look of this."

Is it unreasonable to wonder what was going on?


SBF had huge sleaze vibes, so I don't know if your logic applies.

> and not a single flashy Ferrari

the article mentions his $30 million dollar penthouse ... It seems the only place the flashy assets didn't exist was in the press coverage put out by organizations SBF gave money to...


SBF branding himself as an effective altruist and even purposely dressed in the silicon valley "genius" attire. His condo in the bahamas was after he hit it big and needed to be close to Washington to work on crypto regulation.

There's a huge gap between that and the majority of crypto founders at the time.


>the article mentions his $30 million dollar penthouse

the $30M penthouse in the Bahamas that was purchased using investor money and customer funds... he didn't own it at the time he received funding from these big name VCs, did he?


Nice real estate and art send a very different signal than an exotic car, even if they're kind of high-life blingy.


Don’t VC always say they invest in the founder not the company? It’s all about how that person makes them feel. Some argue that is why there is less diversity in VC funded companies.


It's like the "cultural fit" hiring criteria loophole, which allows companies to deliberately cloud their hiring decision-making by incorporating vague and bias-fraught inputs. It's a way that an organization can claim they have measurable, quantitative criteria, while allowing themselves to override that criteria with their gut feeling when they want to.


Just based off that news article with how much the VCs were delighted after a call with SBF while he was playing League of Legends it certainly seems like they base most of their investing off gut feeling and "vibe check" vs actual fiscal due diligence. Which is how charismatic quirky founders like Elizabeth Holmes, Adam Neumann and now SBF keep finagling big round raises.


> FTX’s list of investors spans powerful and well-known investment firms: NEA, IVP, Iconiq Capital, Third Point Ventures, Tiger Global, Altimeter Capital Management, Lux Capital, Mayfield, Insight Partners, Sequoia Capital, SoftBank, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Ribbit Capital, Temasek Holdings, BlackRock and Thoma Bravo.

- https://archive.ph/1tjP5

This is an extraordinary number of high-profile companies which either failed to do due diligence, or were knowingly, deliberately doing shady dealings.

Not great to have to choose between incompetence and shadiness at any of those, but those are the two options, and each should be investigated for throwing their [customers'] money into an obvious scam.


There's a third option: FOMO. They didn't want to look stupid later for failing to invest in case FTX turned out to be the next big thing, so they took a gamble.


But doesnt FOMO-driven action require lack of due diligence? You may be right that it was indeed FOMO, but its not the FOMO that caused the error, it's the lack of DD that comes with FOMO.


I think that's a very good point. Though also think if I was doing a sort of PhD dissertation exploring the different aspects of malfeasance vs. incompetence that FOMO might ultimately be found as some flavor of incompetence. Though also have a dotted line in the tree diagram leading over to some branch of malfeasance as well.


That falls under “incompetence”.


This strikes me as unlikely. A VC does not look stupid for passing on an investment, even one that would've been successful. Do you think 90% of that list "looks stupid" for not having invested in Google? These big name VCs reached their status through vision, extreme due diligence, and of course luck; not from FOMOing into investments.


Based on my experience in SV startups, this is simply not true. VCs pay a ton of attention to what other VCs are doing and do in fact include what other VCs are doing as part of their decision-making process.


Well yes obviously businesses pay attention to what the competition is doing.

And there's no question it's much easier for founders to raise capital, after they've raised capital. But this is because of how our financial system works; it's much easier to loan (exchange for equity) money to someone who doesn't need it, than someone who desperately needs it. It's the same reason a billionaire can take out a loan 100x the size that you could ask for, at under 1/10th the rate.

But you're making a leap here by suggesting that VCs will make an investment and bypass due diligence simply because another VC invested. What I've seen in the startup world is confident founders are more likely to raise money, having received funding makes founders more confident thereby making investors confident, but for any significant sum of money due diligence might be expedited, but not skipped.


Temasek is a Singapore Government fund, so that's taxpayer money it lost to a savage grift. If it wasn't a one-party state where the opposition is suppressed, that might be uncomfortable for the government.


What blows my mind is that SBF is going to investors asking for money in his billion dollar "no you can't look at the books" crypto hedge fund while looking like he's playing hookie from his math class and playing video games during the pitch meeting and the supposedly very serious Wall Street types went "Wow! This guy is amazing! All the money he wants and more!".


It was Sequoia that was impressed by him during the pitch where he was playing League of Legends, not Wall St.


the sequioa people had no idea what he was wearing during the pitch, nor did they know at the time that he was gaming. they could only hear his voice.


>FTX's books don't so much have red flags as that they are printed on red flags, with ink derived from red flags, a custom-made red cover made out of more red flags, and each page, when opened, has pop-up red flags along with a little electronic speaker that plays Red Flag by Antigoni.

Lol. This should be a framed quote.


Agree that while "they got swept up in the moment" is a reasonable theory (Hanlon's razor and what not), it also seem very plausible that they knew it was risky but not how risky, and felt like there was still a positive expected value because they would be able sell their coins early (I saw a tweet about how a16z is still up 5x on it's crypto investments because of this[1]).

[1] https://twitter.com/mims/status/1592934095117426689


I suspect that's the most plausible, least "evil" theory. Although that still leaves them knowingly gambling that bigger fools, who they intend to take advantage of, will come along later, so I personally wouldn't consider that "good". But I also won't deny it's a dog-eat-dog world at that level and everyone playing at that level is already aware and taking that into account. In that case it just turns out they were the dogs eaten instead of the victors.


A cynical, but not entirely incorrect, take could be that greater fool theory is a pretty critical part of the VC model. The final fool in that process being when they offload to the public markets.


Oh to be clear, I think that line of reasoning (if that is in fact how they felt) is morally questionable at best.


He did not open his books to investors. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/11/technology/ftx-investors-...

“Sam Bankman-Fried’s pitch to investors was not much of a pitch: It was a take-it-or-leave-it offer.

“In meetings to raise money for his cryptocurrency exchange FTX over the last year, the entrepreneur left little room for negotiation, two investors said. FTX was his company, Mr. Bankman-Fried told them, and he planned to run it with little oversight. Interested investors should ‘support him and observe,’ one investor who heard the pitch said.”


Is that the whiff of Red Flag perfume I smell?

A meta reply to several of the commentors here is that we're not talking about JoeBob's Angel Investing who got lucky with his bait shack and has a few hundred thousand more than he knows what to do with to throw around. These are nominally the top tech investors in the world, along with lots of other people who should know what they are doing. Investing in a business in a KNOWN risky and volatile area calls for MORE due diligence, not less. If they didn't do it, we are certainly in the position of trying to figure out the exact distribution between stupid and evil. "Oh, poor us, we asked him to show us the books and he said 'no' and we just couldn't help but throw tens of millions of dollars at him" is bullshit. This isn't hopskotch at the local elementary school. The only even remotely sane conclusion to come to in that circumstance is not only "no", but a NO! yelled back over your shoulder as you flee as fast as your feet will take you.

This is failure so profound that your brain is having trouble wrapping itself around it and you are thinking to yourself, surely they knew what they were doing and I'm just not seeing it? No. Have more confidence in yourself and less in others of supposed authority.


This isn't an isolated incident. Theranos had no product. Many investors invest in founders instead of the idea, thinking that good founders know when to pivot. Occasionally, a founder doubles down on a bad idea and hides that they've figured out it was a bad idea from investors, but it is hard to predict if a founder will do this ahead of time.

That said, my own opinion is that anybody who invests in the crypto space is either a scammer or a rube.


I like a good conspiracy theory, but it's unrealistic to expect that the investors knew about this.

If they did, they would know there'd be a 100% chance that it would blow up.

This is some serious balance sheet depravity. This is not like the CEO buying up companies with a conflict of interest, or billing the company for their private jet. All of that is plausibly legit.

When there are no financial controls at all, money is being looted, it will go down.

VC funds normally don't do due diligence so long as some other entity did it in the round, there is legit oversight on the board etc.. in this case, their own controls failed.

All of the funds who invested in FTX need a serious audit of policy.

This is a dereliction of responsibility, not just a 'bad bet' and so heads should roll. They probably won't though.


Who here is going to start a kickstarter for those books?

I mean - who doesn’t love pop up books?


>And that those reasons are probably not good.

what would those be?


Get in a ponzi while the going is good?


Money laundering.


That's always the "next level" explanation for fraud, but how and why? What did Sequoia get out of this? Who's giving them dirty money?


It isn't necessarily that Sequoia (or any of the other VCs) had dirty money to launder. It could have also been that they wanted to use clean money for unclean purposes.

To be clear: I'm just letting my mind wander in response to your question, not saying that's what happened.


I heard George Soros gave $200m to Sequoia to give to FTX to give to antifa to smuggle yellow cake disguised as children's pronouns.


Money laundering -- whatever. Simple greed explains it.


It could be simple greed by incredibly simple-minded VCs or it could be something worse. Somebody asked what the something worse could be, and I replied.

We are learning more and more about all of this each day. There was massive fraud going on within FTX, and I don't think it's terribly far-fetched to believe that it wasn't contained within the company.

Simple greed explains it -- whatever.


I have the same question.

My best guess is that these VCs need to deploy so much capital that they don't really do due diligence, instead they go by "founder vibes" and "vision", a watered down version of "invest in the team, not the product". Sequoia, SoftBank, a16z all seem to be guilty of this.

Anecdotally, Chamath Palihapitiya, in the recent All-in Podcast [0], said that they met with SBF and as a condition to invest they wanted to get rid of dual class voting shares (or something like that) and a board. FTX leadership (not necessarily SBF) replied with "fuck you".

So I guess you have some VCs trying to do the right thing, but if founders can get capital with no strings attach elsewhere, then your ability to deploy that capital is hampered. Essentially, until recently there were was more capital than founders, so founders could just do whatever (and SBF did).

I would expect that this changes a bit with raising interest rates and a tech downturn, but a16z's $350M investment in Adam Neumann's newest Thing makes me think that we are still flush with money ready to be thrown at anyone that has the connections to get a coffee chat in Sand Hill Road.

[0] https://open.spotify.com/episode/3CKYt4mKxndPkEfAvc7SM0?si=e...


>but a16z's $350M investment in Adam Neumann's newest Thing makes me think that we are still flush with money ready to be thrown at anyone that has the connections to get a coffee chat in Sand Hill Road.

They have loose morals.

Kevin O'Leary, of Dragon's Den fame, who is now a creditor in the FTX bankruptcy (ie wiped out) recently said in an interview that he would invest with SBF again.

The guy literally had money stolen from him. How do you even explain that?


Tim Draper still supports Elizabeth Holmes: https://fortune.com/2022/01/05/venture-capital-tim-draper-el...

I don't know how. Maybe he's just fucking stupid, or too prideful to admit he was wrong.


It may be less about pride and and more about reputation management. It’s the same reason Trump never admits he’s wrong; it’s simply not strategically beneficial to do so.


its also possible that ego is simply a “Kahneman type 2 brain” manifestation of unconscious reputation management, kinda like how instinctively shrinking away from large scary animals is unconscious life expectancy preservation


I'd say Trump is never wrong because he's a fairly overt narcissist, and never being wrong goes with that territory.

That may also be why the above figures are like that too.


I'm not entirely familiar with Theranos, but as far as I know, she only defrauded VCs - entities that are designed to take on risk (which can include Theranos-like fraud).

FTX defrauded average people, many of whom were lured by the big name ads, the friendships with Tom Brady, the marquee investors list.

Supporting that is deeply immoral.


Holmes defrauded many average people who thought they were getting medical tests with accurate results when in fact they were not.


Holmes "blood tests" were giving people useless results. This is LITERALLY putting lives in danger. She probably is guilty of the deaths of some unknown people, we'll never know. Holmes is just as sociopathic and despiclable as SBF, if not worse.


Chamath Palihapitiya has an uncanny ability of appearing when others are left holding the turd bags and then waxing some insight of how they foresaw something. All he cares about is being in the news cycle and making money, he did the same thing with the GameStop short squeeze..


Dead simple: Many VC's aren't very smart and/or ethical. How many major Silicon Valley scandals are VCs involved in? 100%. And for the most part they get a pass.

This end of the era of easy money is going to reveal that many of the "geniuses of our time" are nothing of the like.


The stuff that Sequoia said about him is almost unreal. They talked like he was going to be the greatest entrepreneur in human history. All because he exploited a momentary arbitrage in Japanese Bitcoin exchanges. Then they gave him shitloads of money and acceded to not getting board seats. I honestly wonder if they were that trusting or they just wanted to maintain deniability.


The pitch deck you give to Sequioa partners is not a description of your current business. It's a proof of concept that shows how much the market you're entering is worth and a long term vision of how you can carve a significant piece out of it.

So you don't go in saying "hey look we can make a trillion dollars doing arbitrage between American, Japanese and Korean exchanges." You go in showing that your work doing the former proved the existence of a massive market for crypto securities and derivatives, and how you're uniquely positioned to capitalize on that market.

And if they believe in the existence of that market and the founders are able to execute they'll invest.

That's what they mean about investing in founders and teams.


> All because he exploited a momentary arbitrage in Japanese Bitcoin exchanges.

Originally the story was korean exchanges; he changed to saying Japanese, presumably after too many people pointed out the korean story was impossible. (The Japanese story was also more or less impossible, they could have made a bit of money maybe even millions but not the $10+bn he claimed)


They made ~$10-30m from the Japan arb from what I've read, mostly blew it, but it still got Alameda off the ground. The Korean arb was the initial goal but proved too difficult.

Both of these arbs were glaringly obvious and talked about constantly, but difficult to pull off due to banking hurdles in both countries.


The crypto space is full of projects with empty promises of future profits. If you're an investor looking at crypto projects, you're seeing hundreds of crypto pitches every year that are never going anywhere.

Then Alameda comes along showing actual profits from their early trading operations. Someone who as actually figured out how to make money in the crypto world without selling their own tokens (yet). Compared to all of the other dead-end projects these investors get pitched every day, this seems like the golden child. Someone who is actually turning a profit. Investors want to put their money into the golden child's profit machine and get a piece of that action.

SBF was also very successful in turning his early successes into a lot of momentum and social proof. He played investors and influencers against each other by bringing them all on within a short span of time. When this happens, investors go into FOMO / "me too" mode and just throw their money into the momentum, assuming some other investors have probably done the due diligence already.


See also all accounts of Twitter deal funding, which seemed to boil down to "I'm oversubscribed (lie), so you'd better say yes now and give me more money than you want."

Which is essentially all fundraising in a crowded market, but you would expect investors to be more sophisticated. Even accounting for selection bias (we're opining on the ones who invested).


I've had one of the mentioned firms invest in a place I was a partner at, and it surprises the hell out of me. I remember the investment guy would tell the rest of us "on Wednesday, wear a shirt and tie, X big name is coming" and that's what we'd do. And millions of questions about the strategy, though didn't know much about those details.

Current theory is there's some sort of investment U shape curve. Either people look the part and talk the part and get the part, or they look like they care so little that they must be the real deal. Wish I'd known this, because I am also able to play video games badly while wearing a T-shirt.


This is called countersignaling. Basically, if everybody else invests into doing X and somebody conspicuously does not, it's taken as a signal that they're so good that they don't need to.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersignaling


There is an episode of the Silicon Valley series where the team tries to increase their VC funding by becoming increasingly toxic and abusive with the VCs they meet, and they end up signing with the biggest offer they got, after one of them literally puts his genitals on the table during negotiation.

Turns out this was hitting very close to the truth. That show was great to show how much a clown world SV can be.



They weren't investing on fundamentals, the books didn't matter. His close association and largesse with regulators, media, and politicians along with his cloak of EA made regulatory capture and the promise of monopoly-like profits possible.

VC's aren't stupid, even if they thought it was 80% likely he was an outright fraud, it's still worth the bet for a 20% chance at 50-100x returns.


It's strange to see EA credited as both the reason for why this went on for so long with no oversight, and then damned in a 'ding dong the witch is dead' manner after it fell apart.

When a confidence man and thief loudly and proudly shouts out a religious affiliation as his guiding star, we generally don't go ahead and condemn the religion for his behavior. (Doing so is a great way to get canceled. At most, we blame him for not being religious enough.)


Because "EA" as a thing is stupid and redundant even after you recognize that altruism alone is overrated. Its just obvious moralistic garbage.


Altruism is overrated?

If you were poor or otherwise suffering would you not want help from someone richer than you?


In this case this tiny religion embraced him, so yes many would blame that to a degree as well.


Nobody wants to admit that a vast majority of VC due diligence is just assuming that the other VCs did due diligence.


I have another take... It's been 15-20 years of literally free money. What did they care if some went away, they would just leverage some more.


The VC due diligence is not about corporate governance or a viable business model. Everyone does shady stuff to some extent and everyone aims to "exit" before turning in the first profitable quarter.

The due diligence is about the founder's connections and the ability to use them to skirt regulatory oversight. This checked out - both Sam and his girlfriend came from well-connected families and so far acted the part (including the massive political donations). Whether it's going to save them remains to be seen. I hope we won't sink to a new low of bailing out Ponzi schemes with taxpayer money, but I wouldn't be surprised too much.


Or it highlights that VCs care more about relationships to the founders than ideas or abilities. We like to talk about a meritocracy when it's more about who did you room with at Stanford, MIT, etc...


They did plenty of due diligence to protect their own interests.

Their term sheets gave them a big chunk of the "limited supply" tokens. So even if the business model was trash, they could cash out well before the market for that coin collapsed.

It is similar to when investment banks underwrite stock issues; they purchase a chunk of the stock directly from the company at an agreed-upon price. The company gets guaranteed funds, and the bank is free to sell the shares on a secondary market and potentially pick up a profit.

What's missing in crypto are the safeguards that ensure that banks + companies do not collude on pump and dumps in the securities markets. These include quarterly financial audits and oversight from a watchdog agency like the SEC. Obviously they are far from perfect, but considering the anti-regulation nature of US business (even after the Great Depression), the fact they even exist is a small triumph.


The venture capitalists at Sequoia—the powerful investors behind Silicon Valley success stories like Google and PayPal—were certainly taken (or taken in) by him. Three months ago, one of the firm’s partners, Michelle Bailhe, offered a breathless take in a firm-sponsored story about SBF:

“Of the exchanges that we had met and looked at, some of them had regulatory issues, some of them were already public,” Bailhe wrote. “And then there was Sam.” FTX, Sequoia felt, was “Goldilocks-perfect.”

In colorful language, Sequoia partners reveled in their appreciation for his pitch for FTX.com as the center of all monetary transactions. In their own words:

“I LOVE THIS FOUNDER,” typed one partner.

“I am a 10 out of 10,” pinged another.

“YES!!!” exclaimed a third.

The firm has since deleted the article.

https://www.commonsense.news/p/the-32-billion-crypto-scammer


Secret is to not take the pitch meeting seriously and play league of legends.


"you in"? that's probably how he pitched it too : )


Its the inevitable conclusion of chasing easy money in the wake of the crypto asset bubble. Everybody got lazy.


Honestly, I think any "smart money" managers who invested in this should be ashamed. It's absolutely an indictment of their intelligence.

The basics of due diligence is: * How is their record keeping of board decisions & financials? * What board decisions and indemnities exist in those records that may have conflicts of interest or claims from other third parties? (FTX didn't even have a board) * etc..

Furthermore, probably should raise every red flag ever for a reasonably intelligent person if some 20-somethings with a few years of experience claim they have the secret sauce to trade successfully under every possible market regime. It falls on its own implausibility and only reeks of hubris.

To understand most market regimes likely to occur, you likely need people in their late 50'ies onboard, or even older (there's a reason Buffett, Soros et al come out relatively unscathed out of most crises, while everyone else bleeds out).

This is a result of stupidity meeting easy money.


https://decrypt.co/114719/tumblr-blog-linked-ex-alameda-rese...

if a crypto journalist was able to find these tweets and blogs, it would indicate the VCs didn't do their due diligence on the CEO, at the least.


Between this, Theranos, Elon getting co-investment and loans in his project to set 44 billion on fire and recent investor letter to Google to cut staff and damage their main engine of innovation

You can only conclude that there is a lot of dimb money out there. Some people made big money despite being idiots. Which means I have a chance as well!


lots of the money came in 2021 and 2022.

the audits done in july 2021 were by armanino and prager metis, both of which are trying to expand into the digital asset space and would stand to benefit from continued growth and success by ftx. the implication i am making is that there was no way for the audits to be unbiased.

if the audits weren't junk, the company probably wouldn't have been big enough to cause such a mess


People sometimes forget that Enron’s collapse also took down their auditor, Arthur Anderson, which killed their audit business and spun the consulting business into what is now Accenture. The auditors in these situations are often as culpable as the companies.


listen to chamath’s explanation on the latest All In podcast, he puts it pretty succinctly.


depends on the stage, at some stages you are just pitching the growth (maybe even just the future growth), not the current financials, which may be terrible for any number of reasons.

That, or fraud, of course.


plato once said, storytellers rule the world


MIT? Check

Connected family? Check

QuIrKY AF? Check


> how did ftx successfully raise so much vc money recently?

Maybe they got to join the FTX polycule if they invested enough. Who wouldn't want to get in on that.


Everyone can, vicariously, when the leaked SBF-CE tape drops tomorrow. Personally, I plan on staying off the internet all day so I don't accidentally see it.


Oh god, a disgusting sex tape is just the vomit encrusted cherry on top of this trash fire.

There’s got to be a No-nut November joke in there.


I'm pretty sure that doesn't apply here. But if it did, I'd find that impressive, too. Most topmodels never make it to 10 billion USD.


My superficial theory is that they probably invested for inside information, then somehow shorted them on their downfall.


How did Theranos?


Effective altruism at its finest. LOL


What does effective altruism have to do with VCs that invested in FTX and their due diligence? If anything effective altruism is downstream from that.


Sam used the EA card and his generous donations to places like MIT's Media Lab in the same way Epstein did. This not only earned him tons of goodwill from the scientific community, but it also allowed him to rub shoulders with the likes of Tony Blair and Clinton. Who wouldn't want to invest in someone who is helping to make the world better and has all these aforementioned personalities and institutions helping to provide an air of legitimacy to his pursuits? (Also, the guy who coined the term EA sat on the board of his FTX fund and was helping to facilitate deals with people like Elon Musk) https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/23458282/effective-altrui...


How does this relate to effective altruism as a whole? SBF does these things... therefore this kind of behavior is endemic in the effective altruism community?


That its community idealized and gathered around a man with no moral center who thought their entire movement was both a joke and a way to avoid scrutiny for his ongoing frauds. That, at the least, gives an indication that its intellectual underpinnings are not solid.


SBF got tons of pushback in the EA community. He gave jobs to some of the actual thought leaders so they tried to give him some credit, but there are tons and tons of posts on the EA forum about how Sam's extreme focus on long termism made EA too easy to meme on, and even more posts about how his political shenanigans were likely to cause major issues for the movement.


These are the sketchy intellectual underpinnings I was mentioning. It's less an intellectual endeavor than a small rich white guy social club. Having a little money and hanging out in EA circles means I might get the ear of somebody with a lot of money; especially if I can somehow fit my elevator pitch into their MCU dreams.

I'm a believer that altruism should be as effective as possible, but there's little crossover between that and what most Effective Altruists are saying and doing. They seem to largely be either using money for direct world poverty alleviation (usually a very good thing, unless it has second-order effects) which is what gets mentioned (you know, goats or wells, nothing new), or using it as an excuse to waste money on their own idiosyncratic libertarian sci-fi fantasies but disguised as charity i.e. secular Scientologists.


I agree that the long termism stuff is largely not effective, but I take issue with your characterization of most effective altruists. Most EA's are just donating to the givewell general fund which I believe does reasonably well at researching and funding effective charities. They're very transparent unlike the long termists, you'd have no problem reading the white papers they publish to see if you agree with their conclusions on effectiveness. And if you don't you're free to do your own investigation and act on what you find. You'd still be an EA.

I do think it's unfortunate that the long termism get all the publicity, but I can't say I'm surprised. WHo wants to hear about boring old philanthropy? Saving humanity from the ai apocalypse much more interesting.


Links would be helpful.


>That its community idealized and gathered around a man with no moral center

You make it sound like SBF was the prophet/leader of effective altruism, but I don't think that's the case. The wikipedia article certainly doesn't paint him as some sort of leader, and only gives a passing mention to SBF.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_altruism


Using Wikipedia as a barometer doesn’t always works. In this case it probably wouldn’t work even if SBF was much bigger than he was with EA.

There’s a middle ground. He wasn’t a prophet but he wasn’t nobody either. He was a leading non-academic figure/celeb of EA that didn’t get too much pushback.


>There’s a middle ground. He wasn’t a prophet but he wasn’t nobody either. He was a leading non-academic figure/celeb of EA that didn’t get too much pushback.

That's the non-controversial opinion, but where does this leave OP's comment? Should we push back more on billionaires in movements? Should we assume that everyone who's in movements is in it for cynical reasons? Or maybe only billionaires? A new yorker article on effective altruism suggests that SBF got in before his crypto riches. How does that work? Did SBF suddenly turn cynical once his wealth crossed the $1B mark?

[1] https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/08/15/the-reluctant-...


> Should we assume that everyone who's in movements is in it for cynical reasons?

This is an all-or-nothing fallacy.

Perhaps we should view facially "altruistic" movements much more skeptically. Indeed in hindsight it seems like membership is much more advantageous for virtue signaling than for being more "effective" with your altruism (is it really so hard to figure out who will do the most good with your money?)


>This is an all-or-nothing fallacy.

And you refusing to quote the rest of my comment (which contains proposals that aren't "all-or-nothing") is... some sort of fallacy that I'm too lazy to look up.

>Perhaps we should view facially "altruistic" movements much more skeptically.

And how would being more skeptical have helped in this case? The New Yorker article described Bankman-Fried as being involved with EA since his MIT days. He was donating half his salary while working at Jane Street. His charitable activities when he was running FTX is a logical continuation of this. By all reasonable measures at the time, he wasn't doing it for "virtue signaling".

>Indeed in hindsight it seems like membership is much more advantageous for virtue signaling than for being more "effective" with your altruism (is it really so hard to figure out who will do the most good with your money?)

Is there a reason why effective altruists are being singled out here? Everything you said could be applied to all charitable giving.


> some sort of fallacy that I'm too lazy to look up.

Is it? I didn't object to the rest of your comment but I don't see how it was relevant either.

> He was donating half his salary while working at Jane Street.

So do we actually know that he was doing that, or is that just another example of everyone taking him at his word?

> Everything you said could be applied to all charitable giving.

Most people don't congregate to discuss how charitable they are, so not really.


it a symptom of underlying economic issues. There is so much economic disparity between the top of the economy and the economic have nots. the 0.001% are running out of places to put money. Money is being poured into iffy startups and new economic vehicles, crypto being at the intersection of those is particularly attractive to those with more money than they know what to do with. place like FTX WeWork and Theranos and more have millions thrown at them with little oversight or due diligence because why not they have to put money somewhere. bond interest rates have been historically low for years to the point where some governments were issuing negative interest rate bonds. If you have hundreds of millions and your alternative is to loose money twice over (once to interest rates and again to inflation) Why not throw it at long shot investments with potentially high returns, especially when you may be able to liquidate your shares before they companies crash.


One lesson I’ve learned from this case and Theranos — avoid anything that comes out of Stanford.


After all, it is just a Junior University (Credit to my dad, a Cal alumnus, for that joke. Though I'm sure he got it from someone else back in his college days).


This is the kind of theft that puts people in prison fast. It will take years to untangle the whole financial mess, but buying a house with company funds right before a bankruptcy is easy to explain to a jury.


>in prison fast

Maybe not too fast (or at all) for SBF though. His father is a Stanford Law professor and that doesn't come without some connection to the rest of the legal world-- and so, assuming SBF is likely to have some method of funding, a flavor of defense along these lines could keep him out of jail:

"SBF was simply an idealistic young man who tried to strike out in a new direction in the financial world. But he'd only had a year or two of experience and found himself in a crypto industry filled with scammers and VC forms eager with FOMO failed to provide the guidance or ensure proper governance as would usually be the case. And so business SBF built was very ad hoc on the inside and when things started crashing down SBF made some extremely poor but well intentioned decisions. But now? He's learned his lesson"

And then he gets his probation and a ban from working in the industry for X years. And maybe even a handslap jail sentence.

Based on what's come out so far that has some small chance of still being how he gets off the hook, but it's early days and getting worse by the tweet.


And these people are young. Bernie Madoff at least had the smarts to be old before he was caught so life in jail is basically a whatever for him.


"including a loan of FTT tokens to BlockFi Inc. in a principal amount of FTT tokens valued at $250 million as of September 30, 2022." [1]

[1] https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.com/33/188450/042020648...


SBF seems to have claimed that funds sent to Alameda were loans. Can he do that here too (even if accounting was sloppy)? If so how does that differ from what other financial institutions do, unless it is in the degree of leverage and risk they take on? I am just imagining a headline like "<your bank> used corporate funds to purchase employee home".


ftx created new tokens and loaned them to alameda, and then alameda posted them as collateral to borrow money from ftx customers.


Crypto people complain about governments “just printing money” and then go and do shit like this. It boggles the mind.


It's almost as if crypto is mainly just scams, and people in the process of being fooled by scams.


> It's almost as if crypto is mainly just scams, and people in the process of being fooled by scams.

It is a scam, crypto is essentially people making their own money backed by nothing but hype. The entire industry will collapse way before the regular financial system ever does. Crypto has no fundamentals, none, zip, if not the FIAT people are willing to lose in an attempt to get rich quickly.


I would guess that the accounting firm that did the audit will be going the way of Arthur Andersen after the Enron scandal. And how many of their clients also have "interesting" financials?


> The FTX Group received audit opinions on consolidated financial statements for two of the Silos – the WRS Silo and the Dotcom Silo – for the period ended December 31, 2021. The audit firm for the WRS Silo, Armanino LLP, was a firm with which I am professionally familiar. The audit firm for the Dotcom Silo was Prager Metis, a firm with which I am not familiar and whose website indicates that they are the “first-ever CPA firm to officially open its Metaverse headquarters in the metaverse platform Decentraland.

https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.com/33/188450/042020648...


>Armanino LLP,

Oh look, the same one that "audits" Kraken.


You're scaring me. I have some money on Kraken. Guess it's time to remove.


You have to be smoking some harsh shit to be letting any exchange hang out with your money longer than the minimum amount of time possible. It's only reason is to exchange worthless crypto for cash into your bank account.


>whose website indicates that they are the “first-ever CPA firm to officially open its Metaverse headquarters in the metaverse platform Decentraland.

The truth really is stranger than fiction.



>“I don’t know anything about FTX,” said Jerry Eitel, the partner emeritus and chief metaverse officer at Prager Metis. “I’m retired,” Eitel added, before disconnecting on the phone. (Eitel is a one-time CoinDesk contributor.) The head of Prager Metis’ audit practice could not be reached for comment.

Wow Another Simpsons did it first moment (https://frinkiac.com/img/S07E15/318918.jpg)


Chief metaverse officer sounds like a position in the counsel of ricks.


Even weirder: https://www.discogs.com/artist/3845724-Prager-And-Fenton-LLP (one of the precursor firms to Prager Metis)


Wait... is this the same Prager-prefix as the PragerU folks?

My goodness this stupidity is a conglomerate industry if so.


What a bizarre conclusion-jump. More than one person in the world is named Prager, you know.


Maybe they can share a prison cell with Friehling & Horowitz.


Those are some candid remarks by the new CEO.

"I have over 40 years of legal and restructuring experience. [...] Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated[1] and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented."[2]

I am really looking forward to the next Matt Levine column going through this filing!

[1] Ouch that hurts. At least you want to go down in history as a criminal mastermind!

[2] https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.com/33/188450/042020648...


> I am really looking forward to the next Matt Levine column going through this filing!

Got u fam: https://archive.ph/VaSw8


Not from finance - what is meant here by “potentially compromised”? Is that just as vague in context?


It means that after looking at the books for a week, he thinks that key employees at the firm may have been crooks, as opposed to idiots.


Heh, gotcha. Thanks!


Employee theft - CYA in case they're not, but heavily implying that there's evidence of criminal activity from the inexperienced and unsophisticated people in control of FTX.


Let's take into consideration this company got billions in investments.

How and why...?


TINA

Greater Fool Theory

Take your pick


Speculation, but it appears from the books that the reason FTX was so fast is because they never actually bought or sold any user assets and would just report it as bought and sold on their website.


SBF: “You know what was maybe my biggest single f----p?” he asked. “Chapter 11.”

~1 Week in to the melt down of a massive, hilariously horrifying structure of $Billions intricately tied up in a mixture of hubris, malfeasance, scam artistry, good intentions (maybe?) and...

his biggest regret is that in, perhaps, a moment of sanity he filed for bankruptcy in a jurisdiction that is expert in handling the fallout from this kind of thing. (well, I'm not sure Delaware has actually ever seen this kind of thing before)

This does not reflect well upon his character and perhaps belies his claims that all he wants to do now is find some way of rescuing things from the ashes to make whole the folks whose assets were incinerated


How can anybody be surprised ?

The 2 biggest players - Tether and Binance are much worse and still very well alive. Both are several times bigger (on paper) than FTX.

Binance is already banned in most countries and without headquarters. Do anybody believes they have a proper gouvernance ?

Tether was proved to lie about it réserves several times, recently started publishing attestations about reserves - attestations that are obviously false - the numbers don’t really add up.

For all we know, both could disappear tomorrow with all the money and nobody would be able to say where and how it’s gone !


> both could disappear tomorrow with all the money

If they go then the magic beans are worth $0. In which case - what are the damages? They've ran away with magic beans worth $0.

To quote Monty Python: "I mean, what have you got to lose? You know, you come from nothing. You're going back to nothing. What have you lost? Nothing."


Tether and Bitfinex have the same owner. They print the Tethers for free, move them to an exchange, exchange them for Bitcoin or other token, convert that to USD.

As long as it happens slowly enough and with enough steps, that's 1 USDT converted to 1 USD.

The damages are everyone with money in a USDT denominated exchange who believes that the actual USD still exists somewhere in the system. It left months / years ago, the people still playing are the ones holding the empty bag.


Tether prints tokens in exchange for money. Them disappearing means they took the money and abandoned their magic bean IOUs.


Do they actually exchange them for money or are they just creating them? There has never been a reputable audit of Tether.


Tether's 'market cap' is like 60 billion or whatever, I think most of that was just created out of thin air, but I think some of it was exchanged for real dollars, like a few percent, maybe a couple of billion dollars. In which case, when the fraud comes crashing down, they will have stolen hundreds of millions, to maybe a couple of billion dollars.

Imagine if somebody stole a piece of art worth hundreds of millions of dollars...


They did handle several billion in redemptions without any hiccups when Luna collapsed.

But then again, everyone knows that if Tether blows up, every single crypto entity collapses. If Tether had a hole of a few billion, other entities might have stepped in.

Will they do so again? Hard to tell.

Regardless, Tether is a ticking time bomb.

It would be a fantastic business if they did indeed have all that money. 70B in depsoits. Even in safe short-term t-bills, that's a crap load of risk-free interest income for basically doing nothing.


> Tether's 'market cap' is like 60 billion or whatever, I think most of that was just created out of thin air, but I think some of it was exchanged for real dollars, like a few percent, maybe a couple of billion dollars. In which case, when the fraud comes crashing down, they will have stolen hundreds of millions, to maybe a couple of billion dollars.

> Imagine if somebody stole a piece of art worth hundreds of millions of dollars...

Buy some bs art for peanuts, get bs appraisal that it's worth millions, donate it to some bs gallery and reap tax deductions. Art was turned into a tax evasion scheme, and it compromised any value it ever had.


The way I always thought about it was they printed Thether and used it to buy other POS/POW tokens like BTC + Eth, and then sold those for real $$$.


Yes, of course. In fact its market cap decreased by like 20B at one point.


You'd still have your token though.


They received dollars for the magic beans, and it’s the dollars that are worth something.

It’s a game of musical chairs where people holding the magic beans are dancing around and the dollars are the chairs. There’s only so many dollars to go around when the music stops, and they will go to the exchanges and the ones who “cashed out”.


What's interesting is how little scrutiny was applied to FTX and they're the one who lost people's money. Tether has been under intense scrutiny for years and is still working just fine. No one has lost their money in Tether despite huge outflow events.

There's a lesson in here.


They are under scrutiny, and here are some facts:

- they lied about the reserves and weren't backed at 100%

- they did fraudulent attestations wiring money for the 'snapshot' of accounts for the attestation then moving it back to owners (from Bitfinex exchange if I remember - which is the same people - see a pattern here ?)

- held money in their personal accounts

the above were proven without doubt by the NY AG.

- promised an audit for several years (it's always just a few months away)

- publish attestations that are obviously false. some red flags - in the first one, they claimed to have so much money in commercial paper that would put them in top 10 players - yet, among desks trading those papers, nobody ever heard of them ! In the last 2, if what they published was true, they would already be under water, given the decline of all coins - yet, somehow they are all okay.

- each time an exchange / scam goes down - they publish those papers saying they have 0 exposure to them (recently FTX, Genesis) - this despite findings that Alameda (FTX affiliated hedge found) was on the recepient of >30% of all Tethers

- last I checked, their CEO wasn't seen publicly for several years. Most of their financial 'communication' is done by their AG and 'the IT guy'

There are many more. In case of doubt, watch this interview and judge yourself if this feels like guys legitimately managing 70B real dollars:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBEqyiO35cQ

It's all scam - it's so obvious that it's amazing. It will collapse - we just don't know when.


> - each time an exchange / scam goes down - they publish those papers saying they have 0 exposure to them (recently FTX, Genesis) - this despite findings that Alameda (FTX affiliated hedge found) was on the recepient of >30% of all Tethers

Why would this matter? Tether gives out USDT to (almost) anyone who wants it in exchange for cash, and only redeems it for cash if you give them back the USDT... 100% of their USDT could be held by FTX and that would not suddenly cause them to have any exposure to FTX.


It was proven and admitted that they are also issuing Tethers against loans - for example Mashinsky (the guy from Celcius - that collapsed) said in an interview that Tether loaned them 1B.


FTX is younger than Tether and it was actually subject to scrutiny.

Tether has also been subject to scrutiny and was found, at the time, to be lying about their reserves and backing. And this was before they printed a lot more! It doesn’t make sense to write them off as having withstood the test of time when they literally failed to stand up to the first legal scrutiny that got access to their books.


The lesson learned is that frauds can go on for a long time. It took decades and a once in a generation market crash to expose Bernie Madoff. Enron spent years running their sketchy accounting. Wirecard was only finally exposed after the German government essentially lobbied on their behalf against the journalists trying to expose the fraud.


These frauds can continue so long as they can continue to grow or at least maintain a steady state. Since they promise higher returns than can be achieved through honest means the liabilities grow faster than assets over time, but so long as nobody tries to realize their gains it's fine.

FTX only came down because they pissed off the Binance guy who dumped his position all at once and exposed the fraud. I'm dubious Tether could survive a similar attack. I also think that at least some people investing in these are completely aware of the situation and are ok with it because it means they can beat the market so long as they get out before the whole thing suddenly collapses. Basically playing financial chicken.


> These frauds can continue so long as they can continue to grow or at least maintain a steady state. Since they promise higher returns than can be achieved through honest means the liabilities grow faster than assets over time, but so long as nobody tries to realize their gains it's fine.

Honestly this sort of comment makes me want to stop reading hacker news comments sections altogether. Could you explain what returns are promised for depositors of USD at FTX international and holders of USDT?


It didn't matter if those holdings weren't making returns, because they were all connected to a Ponzi scheme that was siphoning off the money from the rest of the company.

https://www.theblock.co/post/186187/alameda-promised-high-re...

15% returns, guaranteed, no risk.


It didn't matter that my comment was completely wrong and irrelevant because some other facts I omitted from my comment!


> FTX is younger than Tether and it was actually subject to scrutiny.

What due diligence did Blackrock and SoftBank did before investing in FTX?

Half the people I know trusted FTX just because "Blackrock and SoftBank must have done their homework".


If Tether is a fraud (likely), it appears to be a simple one that's rather difficult to implode. Because of their widespread use in trading and limitations on fiat trading / capital controls around the world, it would be a challenge to start a run they couldn't cover by just honoring redemption requests. If they only held 10% it could happen, but if it's ~70% as often claimed, I don't see it happening.

I'm not sure what could collapse Tether other than Tether itself saying they're broke and refusing to honor redemptions.


I assume tether is mostly propped up by illegal businesses. I don't hear it discussed much, but what if they do actually have all the money it's just that they got it from drug dealers and oligarchs


Wow, he also worked at Enron's bankruptcy. I just learned of it now, and I now get it why people are comparing FTX to Enron.


Stuff like this makes me less regretful of ignoring the original bitcoin posting on HN by chaostheory.


Not that surprising if they had to live in the Bahamas. Just means that they will lose their homes.


Nah. They have already siphoned enough money through shell companies to buy many houses. International money trails are almost impossible to disentangle.


They’re not impossible any more and with this getting so much press and the US government likely looking to make an example of SBF, look to get a very detailed trail of where all the $ went. I mean, do you really think, factoring in that he had no accountants and no compliance at all, that he somehow had some of the best money launderers and embezzlers in the world? I highly doubt it, it was probably as amateur as the rest of the company.


> the US government likely looking to make an example of SBF.

Considering the silence from top officials, I don't think this is going to be true. Don't forget he donated ~$50M to the democrats for the mid-terms and was the second biggest dem donor.


>From 1991 to 2008, Bernie and Ruth Madoff contributed about $240,000 to federal candidates, parties, and committees, including $25,000 a year from 2005 through 2008 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.[1]

The "Government access" portion of Madoff's Wikipedia page goes on to detail high-level government connections akin to what SBF had. There's historical precedence for them burning someone just like SBF.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Madoff#Government_acces...


Once it's clear that no more donations from SBF are forthcoming, they won't hesitate to publicly burn him at the stake to get the virtue points with voters. "You knew what I was when you picked me up."


In the primaries, to House candidates, many of whom lost their primaries to other Democrats. So there's a fair amount of bad blood between SBF and the Dems that actually made it to the election.

And on top of that, the GOP won the House. What sort of quid pro quo are you expecting him to get from the losing party, most of whom he pissed off?


I wouldn't be so sure about that yet.

FTX was directly involved in the joint bi-partisan committee to regulate crypto. Heads will need to roll for this so that others can save face.


Madoff was a Democratic mega-donor and he went to jail as well.


Do you have any familiarity with the mechanics of the American federal criminal Justice system? Unless SBF gets a pardon from Joe Biden (which he won’t), those donations won’t matter at all.


Sure, but you only need to solve one or two of those paths to put them behind bars for a while. Then you have, literally, all the time in the world to untangle the whole mess.


>Nah. They have already siphoned enough money through shell companies to buy many houses.

Is there any evidence of this? Sure, maybe wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops, driving a Corolla, and sleeping on beanbags is some sort of act to divert attention, but the simpler explanation is that he just fucked up. Not everything has to be a heist.


I mean, page 9 of the bankruptcy filing says Alameda Research loaned SBF $1,000,000,000 [1], and a couple billion in loans to other owners or companies owned by the owners.

Maybe he just fucked up. But when the music stops and instead of having your customers' money, you have a bunch of loans to the owners of the company... I'm not sure if "he just fucked up" is the simpler explanation, or the more credulous one.

[1]: https://s.wsj.net/public/resources/documents/FTXFILING.pdf


> I mean, page 9 of the bankruptcy filing says Alameda Research loaned SBF $1,000,000,000 [1], and a couple billion in loans to other owners or companies owned by the owners.

oof, okay that's pretty bad.


I don't know. We live in a society in which PR is king. Fake it til you make it. It seems that what FTX was really selling was the wunderkind genius, SBF. The beanbag, disheveled appearance, mit education and league of legends playing on pitch meetings all helped sell this image. Whether or not he was doing this consciously, he was playing this part to perfection and many people ate it up. My guess though is that if it hadn't been SBF, it would have been someone else who embodied this archetype in some other way. You can't disentangle SBF from the surrounding environment that enabled his rise.


Unless you think the new CEO's findings are incorrect (highly doubtful) or that FTX was buying houses for everybody except SBF himself (possible, but again doubtful), there is evidence right in front of you.


These people are in custody, right?


The organization that held these people in custody gave them to a hedge fund to cover trading losses.

Nobody is sure where these people are now.


Not as of this moment, no.


Great, that means someone might get some money back when they are sold.


There's billions missing. Investments in non-crypto assets that are not on the books and have no clear paper trail.

It increasingly looks like FTX was a money laundering operation.


I wonder how much of the $30(?) million he donated to democratic political campaigns this cycle will turn out to have been customers’ funds too?

Had to have been one of the top donors.


they were probably going to give them to the homeless ...


The EA shtick really feels like Big Tony walking Bart through the logic that selling stolen cigarettes to strangers by the truck load is the same as stealing bread to feed your starving family.


I don't know why it would feel like that. The EA community came out immediately and very forcefully in opposition to SBF and this perversion of EA philosophy since the FTX blow up [1] and they have been vocally opposed to shady practices in the service of EA since long before the last week.

[1]: https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/XHrHsrQGyr4NnqCA7/...


I encourage anyone reading that post to read some of the others on the forum as well.

> Alameda and later FTX are founded explicitly as Effective Altruist organizations, although they rely on commercial investment and seed funding. Early employees are mostly or all EAs. The hiring process filters aggressively for goodness of fit a lot of which is to what extent someone is an EA. They pitch FTX and Alameda as places to go work if you are looking to do good.

> SBF is influenced by his longtime friend Will MacAskill* and others by the principles of Effective Altruism.

* Will MacAskill is the co-founder of EA, close friend of SBF for 9 years, and the one that was trying to get Musk to accept an investment from SBF for Twitter.

https://forum.effectivealtruism.org/posts/f9rFsbsd4rGLQfpQg/...


Group distances themselves from person that made them look bad? Hmm, that's an unusual scenario.


In what way is "scam your way to billions so you can donate billions" incompatible with EA? Honestly it seems like it would be the expected outcome. EA is the pinnacle of "the ends justify the means"


Insofar as EA depends on the delusion that one is and always will be incredibly lucky, or was born into fortune. (Does it? Genuinely curious- it comes across rather tone deaf as an outsider)


> have been vocally opposed to shady practices in the service of EA

That isn't the impression I got from reading their forums-- rather, you can find some messages vocally opposed to "shady practices" but only because people keep promoting and arguing against the position.

You won't find such vocal opposition to shady practices elsewhere because elsewhere it isn't needed. In the world of charity for sociopaths, "scamming for good" is inside the overton window and has to be combated to prevent it from taking over.


Wow. He just completely roasted SBF. It is completely insane to see this laid bare.


sigh.

a scam, through and through.


$418M went into cold wallets.

- how convenient for SEC.


Employee loyalty programmes are common among tech. Considering the cost of hiring, and retraining employees. Do not forget about security.


It's called theft.


In a separate article Ray also said:

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,”

And this is the same man who oversaw the liquidation of Enron.

"Ray said he had found at FTX international, FTX US and Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research trading company “compromised systems integrity”, “faulty regulatory oversight” and a “concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals”.

via https://archive.ph/jBZKM


The filing is amazing: https://pacer-documents.s3.amazonaws.com/33/188450/042020648...

Don't forget to read this with the "diplomatic/legal/lawyer" mindset. These are not internet comments, these are legal filings. Sentences like "Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here. From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented." are not the words of someone seeking updoots, this is a very serious individual in a serious legal filing. Read this way this entire filing is filled with zingers and knee-slappers. Truly an amazing work.


I mean, my experience reading legal filings is that lawyers love to throw in these "zingers", in no small part because it is their job to present the most brutal version of the argument on their side. One of my favorite legal filings ever was "Six Ways Buzzfeed Has Misled the Court (Number Two Will Amaze You) … and a Picture of a Kitten".


Yes, sorry, I didn't mean to say this never happens, just wanted to help orient people as to what they look like and calibrate expectations.

Though I would point out this is nominally not an adversarial filing. In practice, though, if I were FTX's CEO I would certainly be treating it as such, and he clearly is. This is sticky radioactive waste and I would be taking any measures necessary to keep it off of me.


This guy is FTX's CEO. The reason he is saying this is because the former CEO and employees appear to have stolen large amounts of money from the company.


> I mean, my experience reading legal filings is that lawyers love to throw in these "zingers", in no small part because it is their job to present the most brutal version of the argument on their side.

This is filed by FTX’s new CEO, who took over when SBF was convinced/forced to hand over the reins.

He puts this in not to be brutal (which isn't the job), but to frame (with more detail throughout) why it will take unusual time to do basic tasks like identifying FTX's assets, liabilities, major creditors, and employees to the bankruptcy court.


For the curious:

https://wapo.st/3GmTZJH (no paywall)

The article links to a PDF of the court filing, including this One Weird Trick:

> In a somewhat remarkable Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs Buzzfeed, Inc. (“Buzzfeed”) and Ben Smith (“Mr. Smith”) intimate that their ties to Florida are so sparse that, collectively, they can barely find Florida on a map and that, as a result, the present case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction or transferred to the Southern District of New York.


A few favorites:

The Debtors did not have the type of disbursement controls that I believe are appropriate for a business enterprise. For example, employees of the FTX Group submitted payment requests through an on-line ‘chat’ platform where a disparate group of supervisors approved disbursements by responding with personalized emojis.

The audit firm for the Dotcom Silo was Prager Metis, a firm with which I am not familiar and whose website indicates that they are the “first-ever CPA firm to officially open its Metaverse headquarters in the metaverse platform Decentraland.”

Mr. Bankman-Fried, whose connections and financial holdings in the Bahamas remain unclear to me, recently stated to a reporter on Twitter: “F* regulators they make everything worse” and suggested the next step for him was to “win a jurisdictional battle vs. Delaware”.


Hey look at that! Someone was actually using the Metaverse, and for a financial auditing business no less! Zuckerberg should be patting himself on the back over that milestone achievement.


>The audit firm for the Dotcom Silo was Prager Metis, a firm with which I am not familiar and whose website indicates that they are the “first-ever CPA firm to officially open its Metaverse headquarters in the metaverse platform Decentraland.”

You're not kidding.


mic drop, he doesn't even feel the need to explain the impact of this statement lmfao


It was actually this line that makes me wonder about the new CEO's intent. Below is from the 'about us' page of Prager Metis. I read that funny line in a tweet, then found below after a search & 3 clicks. He missed this or is below all lies?

Our History

Prager and Fenton has provided expert accounting and advisory services for over a century, focusing on the entertainment and music industry, professional practice firms, real estate groups, and private wealth individuals.

Prager Metis CPAs, was formed in January 2013 by the combination of Prager and Fenton LLP and Metis Group LLC—two highly-respected accounting firms who found their deep-rooted practices to be both philosophically and culturally complementary.

Founded in 1987, Metis Group is known for their “team approach” to creating financial security for their clients, and provides a full range of accounting and tax services including forensic accounting, business and strategic planning, and litigation support.

https://pragermetis.com/about-us/overview/


This is art:

-'The audit firm for the Dotcom Silo was Prager Metis, a firm with which I am not familiar and whose website indicates that they are the “first-ever CPA firm to officially open its Metaverse headquarters in the metaverse platform Decentraland.”'

-'The Debtors did not have the type of disbursement controls that I believe are appropriate for a business enterprise. For example, employees of the FTX Group submitted payment requests through an on-line ‘chat’ platform where a disparate group of supervisors approved disbursements by responding with personalized emojis. '


One of my favorites is "McDonald's is best known for its world-famous burgers, fries, and broken ice cream machines. The problem is so widespread that even the McDonald's communications team has tweeted about the issue."

https://www.scribd.com/document/562063724/Kytch-v-McDonald-s...


> are not the words of someone seeking updoots, this is a very serious individual in a serious legal filing

eh. until a criminal trial occurs, these really are just updoots. the gravity of this doesn't change that people write colorful language for clout in the process. if you're read enough filings like this, you'll have seen it all.


The corporate structure chart at the end is rather stunning.


Having glanced at the accounts, I don't see why SBF filed for Chapter 11. Assets across all silos seem to exceed liabilities. :)

> Because such balance sheet was produced while the Debtors were controlled by Mr. Bankman-Fried, I do not have confidence in it, and the information therein may not be correct as of the date stated.

... Oh.

> I have substantial concerns as to the information presented in these audited financial statements, especially with respect to the Dotcom Silo. As a practical matter, I do not believe it appropriate for stakeholders or the Court to rely on the audited financial statements as a reliable indication of the financial circumstances of these Silos

... Hmm.

> The Debtors have not yet been able to locate any audited financial statements with respect to the Alameda Silo or the Ventures Silo.

Oh, my.


The balance sheet doesn't include the crypto funds associated with depositors on the exchange. Which is sort of a problem - they should be both asset and liabilities, and 1:1 match.


Nassim Taleb said it: "Crypto is a gigantic construction built by maladjusted children."

https://mobile.twitter.com/nntaleb/status/159059960483560652...


I love Taleb, but given that the majority of his wealth was made from derivatives markets, I'm not entirely sure if his moral pontificating is always the best or most accurate commentary available to quote.


The guy who says regulations are dumb has no idea what he spent his money on or even how many employees he has. This guy is almost worse than Elizabeth Holmes.


I have a feeling he will come out worse that Elizabeth Holmes because it feels like a complete fraud and pilfering of their client's money for their own spoils. While Elizabeth ran a known fraud she didn't quite pilfer the money to completely enrich themselves like the FTX crew did.


Also at least Elizabeth wasn't stupid enough to give an interview to Vox where she admitted everything was a fraud and then told the regulators to fuck themselves.

SBF's parents are both Stanford law professors, they or someone really needs to tell the kid to just stop talking.


Also Elizabeth didn't do this:

Michael Lewis, who is famous for writing The Big Short and Moneyball, has reportedly been embedded with the bankrupt crypto exchange’s former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried for six months and will pen a book telling the inside story.


maybe this is some 4D chess narcissism of wanting to be on the big screen while you serve time?


And his girlfriend (Alameda CEO) Caroline Ellison's dad is Gary Gensler's former boss at MIT.


That's not true - people should stop mindlessly parroting it.

Glenn Ellison is the department head of the Econ school, Gary Gensler worked in the business school. In any case, department heads aren't the "boss" of the rest of the professors in any sense familiar to the corporate world. They're just professors with administrative responsibilities and the point-of-contact to the Dean's office.

https://economics.mit.edu/people/faculty/glenn-ellison

https://web.archive.org/web/20210415164859/https://mitsloan....


For a certain sort of prospective law student, I’m sure this makes Stanford even more appealing. You’ll be able to learn from not one but two professors who helped their own son cop a federal plea deal!


Should be a cakewalk given FTX’s campaign donations.


And what will change because of this? Not much, the (VC) grift continues. People don’t want to accept that the VC model works while there’s a qualitative change in technology, which worked in the 2010’s and there hasn’t been any in a while. Maybe the new AI generative models bring something new


Oh it seems that people accepted that and thought Blockchain is the new technology and here we are...


The golden age of VC was curiously correlated with a decade of free money and runaway equity prices. Like buying a plane ticket and thinking you're a bird.


At least Holmes had the courtesy to target Henry Kissinger, the DeVos family, and the Murdochs for her swindle.


He was tight with the regulators and literally advising congress, yet they had no idea what he was doing and gave his operation a veneer of authenticity, so he's correct on that point.


I'm the last person to defend Holmes, but at least she was trying to produce something.

SBF's prison sentence should be at least five times what Holmes gets.


She put people at risk of undetected cancer. SBF accepted money from suckers.


Like the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund?

(As I said: not at all a Holmes defender.)


Yes, they are suckers. This sort of principal-agent problem is exactly why defined benefit pension plans ought to be phased out and replaced by defined contribution plans.


Yes. Institutions are notorious suckers.


He was saying the opposite, one of the biggest supporters of regulation in the space, and reportedly had several one on one conversations with Gary Gensler of the SEC and was the second largest donor to Joe Biden


He recanted all that in his latest interview and said that all that was basically a lie for him to build legitimacy. Whether you believe him based on his other lies is of course the tricky bit.

> fuck regulators

> they make everything worse

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/23462333/sam-bankman-frie...


He admitted in what he thought was a private conversation that that was all a public front but that his true opinion is "fuck regulation"


He’s pro crypto regulation (keep competitors out of his space), and fuck any regulation that might reveal his massive fraud.


Yeah he's not pro regulation is pro _regulatory capture_.


His lieutenant was a major Republican donor.


And this is only after a few days that's he's had to examine the FTX books. There's likely a lot more bodies buried that will take a bit longer to find.


I have my doubts that they actually took time to bury the bodies.


It's more that the bodies are scattered over a wide area rather than being deeply buried.


What is also wild is that none of their investors obviously ever asked for even, like, a single account reconciliation, because obviously there were none!

Until the Chapter 11 filing, I assumed the books were pretty much normal until Alameda started to tank and then shady stuff started happening, but it turns out they were always just guesstimates in Excel. Which is apparently fine when raising ~$2B.


I was trying to reason through why somebody would step in as CEO specifically for the bankruptcy.

How does he get compensated? I’m assuming it’s not simply a goodwill/hobby thing


He’s there on behalf of the new owners (the people who FTX owed money to) and his job is to untangle what happened, see what can be salvaged if anything, and then part up the carcass and dispose of it. Read his filing and in the first three pages he explains what he’s doing there and what his priorities are. He’s basically a trusted neutral party who’s made a career of stepping in to sort out messes like this. A very niche career track and nothing like the job of a CEO in a healthy organization. More like part forensic investigator, part salvage operator, part corp lawyer.


He's a specialist in bankruptcy and liquidation administration. Essentially the debtors have appointed him to take over and identify what can be sold or salvaged. He gets paid out of whatever funds he can find.


Ah yeah, that makes sense.

I’m surprised the debtors assumed control of the company that quickly though. Figured it would take some time to play out


> I’m surprised the debtors assumed control of the company that quickly though.

”Debtors” are people that owe money (i.e., here, the FTX family of corps).

This is not a case where the creditors (the people to whom money is owed) are in possession (or even yet identified), though that can happen in bankruptcy.


It starts when bankruptcy is filed.

Ofc, if I lend $100m to a company that you control, and you start siphoning that money into your bank account...then you aren't going to declare bankruptcy until the stealing is finished. So there are provisions to claw back money even ex-post (i.e. time doesn't matter) when someone has committed a crime...but the idea is that bankruptcies are wrapped up quickly because the longer it goes on the more value is lost by everyone (apart from lawyers)...speedy liquidation is also a central component of a well-functioning capitalist economy.


> How does he get compensated?

Thr bankruptcy court lets the bankrupt entity spend money (woth supervision) on tasks essential to what it needs to do in bankruptcy, including paying employees needed for that worm.


I wonder if this could result in another round of costly SOX-like regulations?


Why would it? FTX wasn’t playing by existing US regulations anyway.

Even the most basic regulations would have squashed FTX’s entire fraud from the start. They weren’t bothering to play by any rules because they knew they could get away with it.


I think the way to attack this would be on them having US customers.

Yeah, technically they "banned" US customers. They were also doing sponsorships, and advertisement in literal US basketball stadiums.

Clearly they knew they had US customers and were attempting to get them.


>> Clearly they knew they had US customers and were attempting to get them.

And they did, except they got overseas-registered hedge fund subsidiaries, where the managers were US residents (probably living in NY/CT/FL.)

We arent providing SIPC/FDIC backstopping to the customers, since it aint our jurisdiction. We arent bailing them out, so far.


FTX had two exchanges: FTX.us for US customers (with limited features), and FTX.com for the rest of the world.


Regulations didn't stop Enron.


Yes, which is why the US Congress added a whole bunch of new regulations (Sarbanes-Oxley) to prevent future Enrons.


Which require compliance with them. If you work at a company that cares to actually comply they will. I luckily work somewhere where it's taken seriously.

But it's shockingly easy not to and auditors couldn't possibly catch all of the instances of non-compliance


>> But it's shockingly easy not to and auditors couldn't possibly catch all of the instances of non-compliance

Regulations are usually backwards looking. So at least we never get Enron/GlobalCrossing/etc again.

Then another waves of crises happen, and we get new regulations.

So Fannie/Freddie happened in 2004-2007 and we got brightline guidance and application of FAS91 and EITF-9920.

So then AIG/Lehman/Bear happened in 2007/2008 and we got Dodd Frank. Again backwards looking but we end up in a better place.

The regulation stacks upon regulation, but I think this is good.


> The regulation stacks upon regulation, but I think this is good.

The correct way to think about it is scammers versus law makers.

Scammers are both trying to scam and also to blend in.

So it's hard at first to draw lines.

Them the lines burst onto the scene, when scammers become obvious.

So law makers write that up, and scammers have to find something new.


I never look at laws and regulations as prevention just like a 55MPH speed limit sign or "Drug Free School Zone" doesn't prevent people from breaking said regulations.

It just means that GIVEN that there is a law, WHEN it is found to be broken, there are DEFINED rules of accountability and punishment.


The banking, finance, and corporate accounting world and their practices would shock most devs to the core. Most people just assume that certain controls are being enacted with precision. Things like: customer account reconciliation, bank account reconciliation, etc.

Most of the time people just aggregate values and never inspect the detail. They record those aggregates in the GL and move on. I have never seen granular recon. That is why embezzlement is only discovered by accident years later.


  > They record those aggregates in the GL and move on.

 what is gl?


Perhaps general ledger?


general ledger?


The favorite pastime of politicians is creating regulations to make safer an environment where nobody follows regulations.


This is provably wrong and it would take you 2 minutes to find out why.

Yes, there are failures.

But we have minimum wages, no child labor, protection against harassment, seat belts, fraud laws, etc, etc, all thanks to regulation.

Regulation created by politicians.


I really doubt it - it was just a dumb unregulated offshore startup doing a bunch of stuff that's already illegal. SOX wouldn’t help since FTX apparently didn’t have anything resembling audited financials vs Enron, a public company that abused GAAP to generate misleading financials. It would be a much different story if FTX had gone public or if they had a reputable audit firm vouching for them.


Serious prison time for the executives involved would probably be more effective.


>> Serious prison time for the executives involved would probably be more effective.

Top executives, especially well-connected ones never get prison time. Instead, you usually have Indian/Chinese scapegoats or someone equally disliked.

The entire flash crash was blamed on a lone indian man living with his parents: https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-51265169 Nevermind Citadel, 2Sigma, Jane Street, Goldman Sachs

The 2008 scandal fell upon an Arab man: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kareem_Serageldin He is notable for being the only banker in the United States to be sentenced to jail time as a result of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, a conviction resulting from mismarking bond prices to hide losses.[1][2]

If I were this guy, i'd be really really worried about now:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/cryptocurrency/...

Side note: If you work for a shady company, and you're the only colored guy on the exec team, you are probably there for a reason, and the reason isnt good.


Not surprising no. Tons of Western companies have fucked up, what with leaking AWS credentials, and leaking personal info online.

God forbid if an Indian company does it (see yesterday's post on Infosys), and all the previously suppressed hate (I still don't understand Europe's mind. Whether this hate is racial, or religious, or a mix) starts gushing out. You see this everywhere in the West (often to a greater extent outside the Anglosphere).

Even the reporting on India is the same - a PM who's not compromised to the Anglophone elites of India gets elected, and what do the "liberated, enlightened" cretins of the occident do ? Rush in to support their colonial garrison, regurgitating the same old tropes that were used to rape and plunder the "devil-worshipping heathens". You see this even with countries like Japan (god, these bitchy 'expats' are unbearable).


Bernie Madoff was a top executive, with great connections.


most of big beneficiaries of the Madoff scam e.g. Picower (found dead the the bottom of his pool) and including Madoff's children, were dead within a couple years after the collapse.


For reference:

Navinder Sarao - Sentenced to a year of home detention

Kareem Serageldin - Sentenced to 30 months in prison



I bet it's going to be used to push CBDC.


A lot of people will fake surprise now ;). Oh what a surprise. Thanks for the millions under the table though.


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