Sam Bankman-Fried’s charitable donations sought by FTX: Report

FTX’s new management is seeking to recover millions of dollars in donations made by the crypto exchange and its former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, reports the Wall Street Journal. 

At the end of September, FTX’s charity arm, Future Fund, had committed more than $160 million to more than 110 nonprofit organizations, including biotech startups and university researchers developing Covid-19 vaccines and working on pandemic studies, as well as nonprofit organizations in India, China and Brazil.

As per the report, Future Fund committed $3.6 million to AVECRIS, a company working on a genetic vaccine platform, and another $5 million were donated to Atlas Fellowship for scholarships and high-school summer programs in San Francisco.

A spokesperson for Bankman-Fried said that charitable donations were not made from customer deposits, but from trading profits.

The charity arm was announced in February 2022 planning to deploy over $100 million in its first year and reach up to $1 billion in donations.

Despite the decline in crypto prices, donations were kept. On Sep. 23, Future Fund’s Twitter profile announced “a substantial fraction” of capital to be deployed on researches and initiatives working on risk management for artificial general intelligence (AGI), with prizes up to $1.5 million, as well as thousands of dollars in rewards for those who “best critiques of our views” about the future of artificial intelligence. 

Related: Companies and investors may need to return billions in funds paid by FTX

FTX’s donations to political parties and candidates are also under investigation by United States prosecutors. Bankman-Fried was the second-largest “CEO contributor” to Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, with $5.2 million in donations. 

Clawback provisions could force businesses and investors to return billions of dollars paid in the months prior to the crypto exchange’s collapse, Cointelegraph reported. FTX’s new management says that “a number of recipients of contributions or other payments” have approached the company to return the funds.

On Jan. 4, Bankman-Fried pleaded not guilty to all criminal charges he faces relating to the collapse of the crypto exchange, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and campaign finance violations. Since Dec. 22, he has been under house arrest at his parents’ home in California.

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