- FTX unit bought 7 apartments in a luxury resort for “key personnel”
- Bankman-Frieda’s parents named the owners of the vacation home for $16.4 million
- Bankman and Fried tell Reuters: We’re trying to bring FTX back
NEW PROVIDENCE, Bahamas, Nov 22 (Reuters) – FTX Sam Bankman-Fried, his parents and executives of the failed cryptocurrency exchange bought at least 19 properties in the Bahamas over the past two years worth nearly $121 million, official real estate records show.
Most of FTX’s purchases were luxury beachfront homes, including seven condos in the expensive resort of Albany that cost nearly $72 million. Deeds show that the properties purchased by the FTX unit were to serve as “residence for key employees” of the company. Reuters was unable to determine who lived in the apartments.
Documents for another beach-access home in Old Fort Bay — a gated community that was once home to a British colonial fort built in the 1700s to protect against pirates — show Bankman-Fried’s parents, Stanford University law professor Joseph Bankman and Barbara. Fried, as signatories. The property, according to one of the documents dated June 15, is intended for use as a “recreational home.”
When asked by Reuters why the couple decided to buy a vacation home in the Bahamas and how it was paid for — whether with cash, a mortgage or a third party such as FTX — a spokesman for the professors said only that Bankman and Fried were trying to return the property to FTX.
“Even before the bankruptcy proceedings, Mr. Bankman and Ms. Fried are trying to return the deed to the company and are awaiting further instructions,” the spokesman said, declining to elaborate.
While FTX and its employees are known to have bought properties in the Bahamas, where it set up its headquarters last September, property records seen by Reuters show for the first time the extent of their buying spree and the intended use of some of the properties.
FTX, which filed for bankruptcy earlier this month after a flurry of customer withdrawals, did not respond to a request for comment. Bankman-Fried did not respond to requests for comment.
Bankman-Fried told Reuters he lived in the house with nine other colleagues. For his employees, he said FTX provides free food and an “in-house Uber-like service” across the island.
The collapse of FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, left around 1 million lenders facing losses totaling billions of dollars. Reuters reported that Bankman-Fried secretly used $10 billion in customer funds to prop up his trading business and that at least $1 billion of those deposits disappeared.
John Ray, FTX’s new CEO, said in a filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware earlier this month that he understood FTX’s corporate funds were being used to “purchase homes and other personal items for employees and consultants.”
Reuters was unable to determine the source of the funds that FTX and its managers used to purchase these properties.
REAL ESTATE PURCHASES
Reuters searched real estate records at the office of the Registrar General 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, has purchased 15 properties worth nearly $100 million in 2021 and 2022.
His most expensive purchase was a $30 million penthouse in Albany, a resort where Tiger Woods hosts an annual golf tournament. Property records dated March 17 were signed by Ryan Salame, president of FTX Property, and showed it was a “residence for key employees.”
Salame did not respond to a request for comment.
Other high-end real estate purchases include three condos at One Cable Beach, a beachfront residence in New Providence. Records showed the apartments cost between $950,000 and $2 million and were bought by Nishad Singh, a former head of engineering at FTX, Gary Wang, a co-founder of FTX, and Bankman-Fried for residential purposes.
Singh and Wang did not respond to requests for comment.
Two of FTX Property’s properties have been marked for commercial use – an $8.55 million group of homes that served as FTX’s headquarters, and a 4.95-hectare waterfront site overlooking the azure waters that was to be developed as well office space for crypto exchanges.
The FTX headquarters is now uninhabited, furniture has been pushed onto some of the windows. His tag has been removed. The land, which cost 4.5 million dollars, is also empty.
Security said the employees did not return to headquarters after leaving earlier this month.
Koh Gui Qing report; edited by Paritosh Bansal and Claudia Parsons
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