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Exclusive: Bankman-Fried’s FTX, parents buy Bahamian property worth $121 million




  • FTX unit bought 7 apartments in high-end resort for “key personnel”
  • Bankman-Fried’s parents named owners of $1[ads1]6.4 million vacation home
  • Bankman and Fried tell Reuters: Seeking to return deed to FTX

NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX, his parents and senior employees of the failed cryptocurrency exchange bought at least 19 properties worth nearly $121 million in the Bahamas over the past two years, official property records show.

Most of FTX’s purchases were luxury beachfront homes, including seven condos in an expensive resort called Albany that cost nearly $72 million. The deeds show that these properties, bought by a unit of FTX, were to be used as “residence for key personnel” of the company. Reuters could not determine who lived in the apartments.

The records for another beach-access home in Old Fort Bay — a gated community that was once home to a British colonial fort built in the 18th century to protect against pirates — show Bankman-Fried’s parents, Stanford University law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, as signatories. The property, said one of the documents dated June 15, is to be used as a “holiday home”.

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 such as FTX — a spokesman for the professors said only that Bankman and Fried had tried to return the property to FTX.

“Since prior to the bankruptcy proceedings, Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried have sought to return the deed to the company and are awaiting further instructions,” the spokesperson said, declining to elaborate.

While FTX and its employees are known to have bought real estate in the Bahamas, where it established its headquarters last September, property records seen by Reuters show for the first time the scale of their buying spree and the intended use of some of the property.

FTX, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month after a rush 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. For his employees, he said FTX provided free meals and an “in-house Uber-like” service around 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 secretly used $10 billion in customer funds to support its trading operations, and that at least $1 billion of those deposits had disappeared.

In a U.S. filing with the District of Delaware bankruptcy court earlier this month, John Ray, FTX’s new CEO, said he understood corporate funds from FTX Group were being used to “purchase homes and other personal assets for employees and advisors.”

Reuters could not determine the source of funds that FTX and its executives used to purchase these properties.

PROPERTY PURCHASE

Reuters searched property records at the Bahamas Registrar General’s Department for FTX, Bankman-Fried, his parents and some of the company’s key executives.

FTX Property Holdings Ltd, an FTX entity, acquired 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 every year. The property record for the penthouse, dated March 17, was signed by Ryan Salame, the 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 high-end real estate purchases include three condominiums at One Cable Beach, a beachfront residence in New Providence. Records showed the condominiums cost between $950,000 and $2 million and were purchased by Nishad Singh, the former head of engineering at FTX, Gary Wang, an FTX co-founder, and Bankman-Fried for residential use.

Singh and Wang did not respond to requests for comment.

Two of FTX Property’s real estate holdings were marked for commercial use – an $8.55 million housing cluster that served as FTX’s headquarters, and a 4.95-acre waterfront lot overlooking cyan waters that was also slated to be developed into office space for the crypto exchange .

The FTX headquarters is now unoccupied, with furniture pushed against some windows. The signage until it has been removed. The plot, which cost $4.5 million, is also empty.

A security guard said employees did not return to headquarters after they left earlier this month.

Reporting by Koh Gui Qing; editing by Paritosh Bansal and Claudia Parsons

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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