NEW YORK — Sam Bankman-Fried tangled with New York’s top political and financial power brokers in the months preceding FTX’s collapse and his subsequent arrest. He even had one soiree at New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ favorite late-night haunt.
Despite living in the Bahamas, the erstwhile crypto titan frequented the Big Apple in 2022, according to testimony at Bankman-Fried’s trial from an FBI agent who specializes in analyzing phone records. On Tuesday, Special Agent Richard Busick walked the jury through a series of meetups. This part of his testimony was likely meant to highlight how Bankman-Fried’s alleged crimes played out in New York City.
At one moment Bankman-Fried might show up for a 15-minute photoshoot with Forbes in midtown; at another, he’d be penciled in with Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, Khalid A. Al-Falih or the head of its sovereign wealth fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan. All scheduling streamed through his employee Natalie Tien, a personal assistant whose experiences managing the frazzled CEO provide the opening scenes in Michael Lewis’ book “Going Infinite.”
In March 2022, Bankman-Fried even took a dinner with Mayor Adams at Osteria La Baia, an Italian restaurant near the Museum of Modern Art that’s owned by friends of Hizzoner and has become his de-facto after-hours office. A copy of the mayor’s public schedule has a “Hold for Mayor” meeting on March 3, 2022, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET, but does not include details of who he met with. In September 2022 Bankman-Fried was slated to meet New York Governor Kathy Hochul at The Capital Grille steakhouse – an odd meeting ground for the avowed vegan.
The emails prosecutors selected showcased how in-demand Bankman-Fried was prior to everything falling apart. The investing world clamored for access to the crypto wunderkind; 32 different funds requested access to a group dinner, including that of George Soros and Morgan Stanley.
There was no answer at the mayor’s press office when CoinDesk called Tuesday evening.
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