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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried met with the Bahamas prime minister to discuss paying off the country’s entire $10billion national debt, according to a new biography.

The disgraced crypto protégé held talks with Philip Davis about how the island’s infrastructure could be improved as he hoped to set up offices and relocate his employees to the Caribbean island, according to author Michael Lewis.

He decided he wanted to move some 40 employees out of FTX’s Hong Kong office in response to a crackdown on cryptocurrencies by the Chinese government, Lewis writes in Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon.

‘The good thing about the Bahamas, from Sam’s point of view, was that it had created regulations, which the United States had not, to legitimize a crypto futures exchange,’ Lewis wrote in an published by The Sunday Times

Bankman-Fried, 31, is currently on trial in a Manhattan court over allegedly embezzling FTX customers in order to prop up his hedge fund Alameda Research, buy luxury properties and donate more than $100 million to US political candidates.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried met with the Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis to discuss paying off the country’s debt

After he was elected, SBF was the first person Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis (pictured) wanted to meet

The Bahamian economy suffered during the coronavirus pandemic and lacked the infrastructure Bankman-Fried required to build his cryptocurrency empire. 

Bankman-Fried built a nearly $300 million property portfolio in the Bahamas, including a $16.4 million vacation home for his parents and a $30 million luxury penthouse for himself and colleagues. 

According to Lewis, the FTX founder was trying to entice 40 employees, many whom had grown up in China, to move 9,000 miles away.

‘Sam explained that he was trying to decide whether simply to pay off the $9 billion Bahamas national debt himself, so the country could fix roads and build schools and so on,’ wrote Lewis.

In 2021, the Bahamas had national debt of around 103 percent of its gross domestic product, approximately $11.6 billion, data from the International Monetary Fund found. The most recent IMF data said the country’s debt is around $11.8 billion.

Lewis revealed that one of the prime minister’s aides told him after Davis was elected in 2021, SBF was the first person he wanted to met. 

Best-selling author of ‘The Big Short,’ Lewis met with Bankman-Fried more than 100 times over two years according to CBS News.

Bankman-Fried purchased a $30 million luxury penthouse for himself and colleagues in the Bahamas

A bedroom in  the luxury penthouse in the Bahamas)

A view of the penthouse interior 

Bankman-Fried’s parents owned a $16.4 million ‘vacation home’ in the Old Fort Bay gated community

The author also revealed that SBF considered paying Donald Trump $5 billion not to run for president in 2024.

He even paid NFL star Tom Brady $55 million for doing a week’s worth of work over a three-year period. 

Jury selection began today in the trail against SBF, nearly one year after the collapse of his crypto exchange following an alleged fraud totaling $8 billion dollars. 

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks, and the prosecution’s star witness is his ex-girlfriend and former top lieutenant, Caroline Ellison. 

Bankman-Fried has admitted to inadequate risk management, but denies stealing funds.

At the outset of proceedings on Tuesday, Kaplan told Bankman-Fried in open court that it would ultimately be his decision whether or not to ultimately testify in his own defense, and asked Bankman-Fried whether he understood.

‘Yes,’ Bankman-Fried replied. He was dressed in a suit and tie, with his once signature curly, unkempt hair cut into a neater trim.

Prosecutor Nicolas Roos said the two sides never engaged in talks about a potential plea deal and no such offer was made to Bankman-Fried. Mark Cohen, a lawyer for Bankman-Fried, confirmed that was correct.

Bankman-Fried was extradited to the United States to face embezzlement charges. Jury selection in his trial started today

The prosecution’s star witness is his ex-girlfriend and former top lieutenant, Caroline Ellison

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks. It will feature testimony from three former members of Bankman-Fried’s inner circle who have pleaded guilty to fraud charges themselves and agreed to cooperate with the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.

Bankman-Fried’s lawyers have signaled they plan to challenge the credibility of those witnesses – who include former Alameda chief Ellison and former FTX executives Gary Wang and Nishad Singh – by arguing they are motivated to implicate their client to get a lower sentence, a common strategy in white collar fraud cases.

They have also laid the groundwork to argue that Bankman-Fried believed his exchange was allowed to invest customers’ deposits as long as they were ultimately able to take out their funds, and that a series of business failures – not deliberate fraud – left the exchange without enough money to meet withdrawal requests.

Bankman-Fried’s is the highest profile case U.S. prosecutors have so far brought against a former cryptocurrency executive.

His indictment last December marked a spectacular fall from grace for Bankman-Fried, who had garnered a reputation as a legitimate operator in an industry whose image was pockmarked by scams and purported get-rich-quick schemes.

Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried built that reputation on lies and bolstered it with endorsements from celebrities and star athletes.

Bankman-Fried has been detained since August 11, after the judge found he had likely engaged in witness tampering – including by sharing Ellison’s personal writings with a reporter. 

He will be brought to court early on most days to allow him to prepare with his lawyers.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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