Buried in a mountain of charges from the Justice Department, Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) is reportedly paying his legal fees with money gifted to his father that was initially borrowed from his trading firm, Alameda Research.
The multi-million dollar revelation comes after Bankman-Fried claimed in late November that he had just $100,000 left in his bank account.
SBF’s Legal Defense Fund
In a report published on Tuesday, Forbes claimed to have received information indicating that SBF made a large monetary gift to Joseph Bankman, his father and a Stanford Law Professor, in 2021.
The funds stemmed from a loan of at least $10 million from Alameda and were essentially gifted to Bankman tax-free using his lifetime estate and gift tax exemption. Sources claim this was near the maximum amount someone could gift in their lifetime, which would have been $11.7 million that year.
Bankman-Fried is represented by Christian Everdell and Mark Cohen, both of whom were part of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell’s defense team. Forbes also reported that he is being advised by David W. Mills – a close family friend of the Bankmans.
The Bankmans also retrieved help from fellow professors and Stanford friends when securing SBF’s $250 million bail deal. The faculty members – Larry Kramer and Andreas Paepcke – each signed co-signed surety bonds for $500,000 and $200,000 respectively to allow SBF to stay at home with his parents, instead of in prison.
Where Did the Money Go?
In one of his first public interviews since the collapse of FTX, Bankman-Fried said he had just $100,000 in his bank account, with his multi-billion dollar fortune evaporating within only a few days earlier that month.
Many of his customers lost their multi-million dollar life savings within the defunct exchange, which has been widely accused of misappropriating user funds for trading at Alameda.
Bankman-Fried now faces a 13-count indictment from the Department of Justice, alleging a slew of financial crimes including wire fraud, bank fraud, commodities fraud, campaign finance violations, and bribery of the Chinese government.