Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried personally received $300 million from a $420 million funding round for the company in October 2021, according to a Wall Street Journal report that cited FTX financial records it had reviewed, as well as people familiar with the transaction.
The arrangement was previously undisclosed, with Bankman-Fried telling investors at the time it was partially to reimburse him for money he’d spent to buy out Binance’s stake in FTX a few months earlier, the Journal reported.
In July 2021, Bankman-Fried bought out the approximately 15% of FTX owned by Binance, which was FTX’s first investor. Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao tweeted this month that the amount of the buyout was $2.1 billion in Binance’s stablecoin BUSD and FTX’s exchange token FTT.
The October 2021 funding round valued FTX at $25 billion and raised money from financial heavyweights such as BlackRock, Tiger Global, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek and Sequoia Capital. A few months later, some of those same investors helped raise $400 million for FTX's U.S. subsidiary at an $8 billion valuation.
According to the Journal, it was unclear what Bankman-Fried did with the $300 million, while FTX's 2021 audited financial statements said the money was being kept by the company for "operational expediency" on behalf of a "related party."
UPDATE (Nov. 18, 20:58 UTC): Added information about FTX US fundraise.
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