Sam Bankman-Fried made friends with A-list celebrities, politicians, and financiers, but one infamous couple in particular was instrumental in raising his name in powerful and wealthy circles.
According to reports, Bill Clinton was paid more than $250,000 to speak at the disgraced FTX CEO’s Crypto Bahamas Conference in April.
The former US president, together with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, were famously pictured onstage next to Bankman-Fried, who was dressed in shorts and a T-shirt.
Shortly after, Bill and Hillary Clinton invited the 30-year-old Bankman-Fried — known in crypto circles as “SBF” — to speak at their annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York.
The move by the Clintons served as a defacto endorsement of the former FTX CEO that played a pivotal role in elevating his reputation among politicians and deep-pocketed investors alike, allowing him access to levers of power and influence that would have otherwise remained off-limits.
Bankman-photo Fried’s appears on the Clinton Foundation website with the likes of Matt Damon, Gavin Newson, Melinda French Gates, and Larry Fink as a speaker at the September event.
Bankman-Fried, who resided full-time in the Bahamas before being extradited to the United States in December, largely spoke at conferences remotely throughout the last year.
According to court documents, the firm owed top 50 of the insolvent firm’s 1 million debtors some $3.1 billion.
As a result, several recipients of Bankman-funds Fried’s have returned everything.
Political action organizations, such as the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC, have promised to repay millions of dollars. Beto O’Rourke’s Texas gubernatorial campaign returned $1 million, while Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and incoming House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) donated their FTX contributions to charity.
The Clintons, on the other hand, have kept mute and have refused to return the money provided to them and their foundation by Bankman-Fried.