NEW YORK – Two months before Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire collapsed, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis asked the crypto mogul to speak with the politician’s son about an NFT project he was consulting for, according to an email presented Tuesday as evidence by prosecutors.
The premier’s September 2022 request to Bankman-Fried underscores the cozy relationship he enjoyed with officials in the Bahamas, where the FTX exchange was based. The government has faced criticism for being too lax in its regulation of crypto companies.
Earlier this year, the island nation began a consultation period for a tighter set of rules to ensure digital-asset exchanges have safeguards "adequate and appropriate for the scale and nature" of their businesses, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas said in April. And Davis recently said the Bahamas is "committed to developing an effective and stable regulatory framework," Forkast reported this month.
While questioning FBI agent Richard Busik to clarify why Bankman-Fried is facing wire fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Danielle Kudla presented an email from September 2022 to verify the phone number used by Busik in his examinations indeed belonged to Bankman-Fried.
The message, sent from a Gmail address, included an email signature with the contact information of Philip Davis, who was then and remains prime minister of the Bahamas. Davis asked Bankman-Fried if his son could call the FTX CEO to talk about an NFT project that the son was working on. In response, Bankman-Fried sent his phone number and said he’d be available via phone or Zoom, the email showed.
A spokesperson for Davis could not be reached by press time.
Davis remains a crypto fan, even after FTX's collapse.
“Despite the naysayers, the digital-asset industry is here to stay,” he said this month, Forkast reported.
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CORRECTION (Oct. 23, 2023, 19:19 UTC): Removes incorrect reference to FTX's licensing status in the Bahamas and clarifies the regulator process the Securities Commission of the Bahamas began in April.
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