That defense will only go so far — particularly if witnesses contradict Bankman-Fried’s statements. The Justice Department is working on flipping potential co-defendants who are scrambling to hire crisis advisers now, DealBook hears.
“I was as truthful as I am knowledgeable to be.” This assertion is unlikely to offer S.B.F. much protection if it’s proven he’s taken customer funds without their knowledge or permission to prop up another business, which is a crime. That could add up to wire fraud charges, which involve depriving someone of money or property via a wire communication into or within the U.S., like an email, phone call or text message. S.B.F. and FTX insiders may also face money laundering and conspiracy charges.
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the failed blood-testing start-up Theranos, was sentenced last month to more than 11 years in prison for defrauding backers who had invested nearly $1 billion. FTX losses could meet or exceed $10 billion. Its staggering collapse is speeding up calls for tougher laws to police crypto exchanges and protect investors.
BlackRock’s E.S.G. stance gets costlier in red states
BlackRock and its C.E.O., Larry Fink, can’t get out of the cross hairs of the increasingly vocal crusaders against “woke capitalism.” Florida is pulling $2 billion out of the giant fund manager, becoming the biggest state, by population and the amount in its public pension funds, so far to withdraw money over its commitment to environmental, societal and governance, or E.S.G., investing.
BlackRock’s fight with Republican-led states is growing. “If Larry, or his friends on Wall Street want to change the world — run for office,” Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer, said in a statement. “Using our cash, however, to fund BlackRock’s social-engineering projects isn’t something Florida ever signed up for.” BlackRock manages more than $10 billion worth of assets for Florida’s $200 billion pension fund.
West Virginia and Louisiana have already withdrawn money from BlackRock. “It’s not just a couple of states,” Michael Littenberg, a partner at law firm Ropes & Gray, which has been tracking the growing political anti-E.S.G. movement, told DealBook. “Over the past several months, a number of red states have been organized around anti-E.S.G. issues.”