FTX Fires Back at Creditors 'Willing to Gamble Estate Assets on Higher Returns'

The committee of unsecured creditors had criticized the bankrupt estate's reorganization plan submitted to a Delaware court in July.

AccessTimeIconAug 10, 2023 at 12:08 p.m. UTC
Updated Aug 10, 2023 at 7:25 p.m. UTC
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  • Lawyers for FTX have fired back at creditors who criticized the bankrupt estate's proposed reorganization plan.
  • FTX's administration alleges the creditors are "willing to gamble estate assets on higher returns" regardless of the potential impact on other stakeholders.

Administrators of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX fired back in a Wednesday court filing at a creditors' panel for criticizing the estate's reorganization plan.

The feud casts a shadow on the immediate future of negotiations taking place between stakeholders on a restructuring plan that is supposed to help recoup the roughly $8.1 billion FTX owes customers.

Disagreements emerged after a draft reorganization plan was submitted on July 31 by FTX’s new management team under CEO John Ray III. That same day, the official committee of unsecured creditors alleged the plan had ignored the its suggestions without "a single call or meeting" to discuss the terms of plan.

FTX administrators hit back at those allegations in Wednesday's filing, saying that the plan was criticized "mere moments" after it was submitted while the debtors had worked with the committee’s professionals over the "course of many months" to develop the draft plan and terms.

Citing 112 documents, dozens of calls, meetings and 779 hours in invoices of the committee’s legal advisers, the FTX administrators said to "suggest otherwise is misleading in the extreme."

"While claiming a lack of engagement when the facts clearly demonstrate the opposite, the committee pleading actually foreshadows an inclination to pursue an unrepresentative plan that vests control of the debtors’ billions of dollars in liquid assets in the hands of unrestricted crypto traders and market makers regardless of the potential impact on other stakeholders," FTX lawyers wrote in the court filing, adding they were "heavy with the weight of an unstated agenda specific to the individual members of the committee."

In a footnote, the debtors wrote they are frustrated by the "refusal of many committee members to meet in person (an in person meeting with the full committee has never occurred) as well as the unwillingness of certain members to appear on screen during Zoom calls."

Gambling with estate assets

The FTX bankruptcy team, through its lawyers, also hit back at the compliant from the creditors' committee that the debtors had not invested in Treasury securities.

The lawyers argued that this would "require relief from this court" and that they would be faced with a separate risk of commingling of their Treasury investments, and the step "creates a risk of loss in the event of a need for rapid monetization, or the lack of liquidity in the surety collateral market, which is not an idle concern given the recent bank failures allegedly caused in part by overinvestment in U.S. treasuries."

"The committee, populated by traders and market makers, may be willing to gamble estate assets on higher returns, but the debtors and their independent Board do not agree that such an approach is appropriate in favor of the potential for a slightly higher yield than the present situation where current collateralized deposits earn a weighted average rate of 3.88 percent and over $1.9 billion earn in excess of four per cent," the filing added.

FTX lawyers acknowledged that the members of the creditors' committee are experienced in certain aspects of the crypto industry, but not in restructuring.

"The committee may be a statutory fiduciary for all unsecured creditors, but it is not representative of all of the various classifications of creditors, nor does the Committee reflect the views of all of the 1.9 million customers of the FTX.com exchange," the filing said.

Edited by Sandali Handagama.

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Amitoj Singh

Amitoj Singh is a CoinDesk reporter.


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