- FTX unit bought 7 condos in high-end resort for ‘key personnel’
- Bankman-Fried’s parents named owners of a $16.4 million vacation home
- Bankman and Fried tell Reuters: I am seeking the return of the deed to FTX
NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Sam Bankman-Frieds FTX, his parents and executives at the failed cryptocurrency exchange have bought at least 19 properties worth nearly $121 million in the Bahamas over the past two years, officials said Show ownership documents.
Most of FTX’s purchases have been luxury beachfront homes, including seven condos at an expensive resort called Albany that cost nearly $72 million. The deeds show that these properties, which were purchased by an entity of FTX, were to be used as “residence for key personnel” of the company. Reuters could not determine who lived in the apartments.
Documents for another beach-access home in Old Fort Bay — a gated community that once housed a British colonial fort built in the 17th century to protect against pirates — show Bankman-Fried’s parents, law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara from Stanford University Fried, as a signatory. According to one of the documents dated June 15, the property is to be used as a “holiday home”.
When asked by Reuters why the couple decided to buy a vacation home in the Bahamas and how it was paid for — whether in cash, with a mortgage, or by a third party like FTX — a spokesman for the professors said only that Bankman and Fried had attempted to return ownership of FTX.
“Prior to the bankruptcy proceedings, Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried attempted to return the deed to the company and are awaiting further instructions,” the spokesman said without elaborating.
Although FTX and its associates are known to have bought properties in the Bahamas, where it established its headquarters in September last year, property documents seen by Reuters show for the first time the extent of their buying spree and intended use of some of the true holdings.
FTX, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month following an onslaught of customer withdrawals, did not respond to a request for comment. Bankman-Fried did not respond to requests for comment.
Bankman-Fried has told Reuters that he lived in a house with nine other colleagues. He said FTX offers its employees free meals and an “in-house Uber-like” service across the island.
The collapse of FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has left an estimated 1 million creditors with losses totaling billions of dollars. Reuters has reported that Bankman-Fried was secretly using $10 billion in client funds to shore up its trading business and that at least $1 billion of those deposits had disappeared.
In a US court filing in the Delaware District Bankruptcy Court earlier this month, John Ray, FTX’s new chief executive officer, said he understood that FTX Group corporate funds were used to “purchase homes and other personal effects for employees and consultants “.
Reuters has not been able to determine the source of funds used by FTX and its executives to purchase these properties.
REAL ESTATE PURCHASES
Reuters searched property records at the Division of the General Register of the Bahamas for FTX, Bankman-Fried, his parents and some of the company’s key executives.
FTX Property Holdings Ltd, a unit of FTX, bought 15 properties worth nearly $100 million in 2021 and 2022.
The most expensive purchase was a $30 million penthouse at Albany, a resort where Tiger Woods hosts a golf tournament each year. Ownership documents for the penthouse dated March 17 were signed by Ryan Salame, President of FTX Property, and showed it was intended as “a residence for key personnel.”
Salame did not respond to a request for comment.
Other quality real estate purchases include three condos at One Cable Beach, a beachfront residence in New Providence. Records showed the condos cost between $950,000 and $2 million and were purchased for residential use by Nishad Singh, former head of engineering at FTX, Gary Wang, a co-founder of FTX, and Bankman-Fried.
Singh and Wang did not respond to requests for comment.
Two of FTX Property’s real estate holdings were for commercial use — an $8.55 million conglomeration of homes that served as FTX’s headquarters and a 4.95-acre coastal property overlooking Cyan Water, which should also be expanded into office space, the crypto exchange.
The FTX HQ is now empty, with furniture pushed against some windows. Its signage has been removed. The $4.5 million property is also vacant.
A security guard said staff have not returned to the headquarters after leaving earlier this month.
Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; Adaptation by Paritosh Bansal and Claudia Parsons
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