Sam Bankman-Fried made headlines not only as the founder of FTX, but also as the cryptocurrency tycoon who fled the country and attempted to conceal in the Bahamas to avoid prosecution on crypto-related charges.
However, due to the Bahamas’ extradition agreement with the United States, he was located, extradited, and is currently in prison facing the same charges. There is now a book about Bankman-Fried and his exploits, and its author is currently making the rounds in the media.
According to the book, Bankman-Fried donated to both Democrats and Republicans in the past. In fact, he contemplated attempting to pay Donald Trump not to run in 2024, Michael Lewis wrote. Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, reportedly pondered whether it would be lawful and how much it would cost to pay Donald Trump not to run for office in 2024.
Lewis, author of “The Big Short” and a new book on the disgraced cryptocurrency exchange founder, “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon,” disclosed Bankman-Fried received a prospective dollar amount back in a recent “60 Minutes” interview that aired on Sunday, according to Business Insider.
“So he did get an answer,” Lewis said. “There was a number that was kicking around. And the number that was kicking around when I was talking to Sam about this was $5 billion.”
Michael Lewis reports that Sam Bankman-Fried considered paying Donald Trump not to run for president. He even got a number: $5 billion, but never learned if it was a serious figure that came from Trump himself. https://t.co/WtGO1TPP4A pic.twitter.com/WeKCNByiTk
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 1, 2023
Business Insider continued:
One of the ways Bankman-Fried spent his wealth was by making political donations. In the 2022 midterm elections, he donated $40 million to Democrats, but he has also admitted that he was a large Republican donor.
According to “60 Minutes” correspondent Jon Wertheim, Bankman-Fried intended to contribute to the 2024 election in a distinct manner.
“One of the most shocking passages in this book, I thought, came with this revelation that Sam had looked into paying Donald Trump not to run,” Wertheim said in an interview with Lewis.
Lewis stated that Bankman-Fried never learned if Trump provided the $5 billion figure explicitly. The FTX founder also pondered if paying Trump not to run would even be lawful, according to Lewis.
The response from the former president’s administration, however, put an end to such a query.
“Isn’t Sam Bankman-Fried a liar who has been outed as a fraudster and someone that can’t be trusted,” Steven Cheung, Trump’s spokesperson, wrote in a brief response to an inquiry from Insider.
Reuters reports that in the excerpt published by the Washington Post, Lewis states in the book that Bankman-Fried planned to give between $15 million and $30 million to Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in order to defeat “Trumpier” candidates in Senate contests.
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Forbes reports that Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF, was once a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency industry, with a net worth of $26.5 billion. This status and his entire crypto exchange enterprise collapsed swiftly in 2022, business Insider notes, adding,
“FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing revealed how Bankman-Fried’s trading firm, Alameda Research, and its assets were dependent on FTX’s in-house crypto tokens as collateral. This created issues and spooked investors when crypto prices began to sink that year. Reports also revealed that FTX lent billions of dollars of customer funds to the trading firm.
“Bankman-Fried now sits in a Brooklyn detention center, facing seven federal charges, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering.”
He has pled not guilty to seven counts of fraud and conspiracy in connection with the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange in November 2022.
There is a statutory maximum of 110 years in prison for Bankman-Fried, but any sentence would be determined by the magistrate supervising the case based on a variety of factors, and it is speculated that he would receive a much shorter sentence.
This week’s publication of Lewis’ book coincides with the beginning of Bankman-Fried’s fraud prosecution and the numerous court proceedings involving former President Trump.
That someone in Bankman-Fried’s position wants former President Trump not to run in 2024 suggests that Trump being president would not be a positive thing for someone who is attempting to alter the norms for himself. The desperate circumstances of Bankman-Fried also cast light on the plan.
Mark Botnick, a spokesperson for Bankman-Fried, declined to comment on the book excerpt, according to Reuters.
In the 60-minute interview, Lewis also mentioned other peculiarities regarding Bankman-Fried. According to him, Bankman-Fried paid athletes such as Tom Brady and celebrities exorbitant quantities of money for endorsements, including $55 million to Brady for “20 hours per year for three years.”
Lewis also noted that during Bankman Fried’s first TV appearance, he was playing a videogame throughout the interview. “If you watch the clip you can see his eyes going back and forth, back (laughs) and forth. It’s because he’s trying to win his video game at the same time he’s on the air,” Lewis said according to a CBS News transcript.