Sam Bankman-Fried Switches Legal Counsel as Investigations Into FTX Collapse Mount: Report

White-shoe law firm Paul Weiss is reportedly out – and SBF’s dad’s co-worker is in.

AccessTimeIconNov 17, 2022 at 11:19 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 18, 2022 at 7:17 p.m. UTC

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried will no longer be represented by his legal counsel at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a white-shoe law firm, less than a week after retaining the firm to represent him.

Semafor reported on Thursday that Bankman-Fried will now be represented by David Mills, a criminal law and white-collar crime professor at Stanford University’s law school – where Bankman-Fried’s father, Joseph Bankman, also teaches law. According to a Bloomberg story on Friday, Bankman-Fried's previous attorney, Martin Flumembaum, had dropped him as a client due to unspecified conflicts.

“We informed Mr. Bankman-Fried several days ago, after the filing of the FTX bankruptcy, that conflicts have arisen that precluded us from representing him,” Flumenbaum said in a statement to Bloomberg.

Flumenbaum did not return CoinDesk’s requests for comment.

Though Bankman-Fried has not been accused of any crime at press time, his conduct is being investigated by the Justice Department, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and others.

A filing signed by John Ray III, the new CEO of FTX, suggested Bankman-Fried had at best engaged in poor practices in running FTX’s financials, saying he did not trust the consolidated asset and liability claims FTX had prepared under the former CEO and calling him “potentially compromised.”

Bankman-Fried has said a number of things publicly, prompting Ray to say in the bankruptcy filing that the former CEO is not currently employed by FTX and has no role representing the company. FTX published a similar statement on Wednesday.

UPDATE (Nov. 18, 19:17 UTC): Added information on Bankman-Fried's attorney dropping him as a client.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.