Sam Bankman-Fried’s Clinton Ties Helped Fool Investors

Sam Bankman-Fried has cultivated ties with high-profile celebrities, politicians and investors – but one power couple in particular has been key to boosting his profile in influential and wealthy circles.

Bill Clinton was paid north of $250,000 when he spoke at the disgraced FTX CEO’s Crypto Bahamas conference in April, sources told the Post. At the over-the-top tropical party, former US President and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair were pictured on stage next to Bankman-Fried, who appeared dressed in shorts and a t-shirt.

Shortly after, Bill and Hillary Clinton invited 30-year-old Bankman-Fried – known as “SBF” in crypto circles – to speak at their annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York – an effective endorsement of the former FTX CEO who played a pivotal role in elevating his reputation with politicians and deep-pocketed investors, insiders told the Post.

On the Clinton Foundation website, Bankman-Fried’s photo is placed alongside Matt Damon, Gavin Newson, Melinda French Gates and Larry Fink as a speaker during the September shindig. He is also mentioned as a speaker in a press release preceding the event.

Bill Clinton received hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at the Sam Bankman-Fried conference.
Getty Images

Asked for comment on the event, a spokesperson for the Clintons replied, “SBF was never on stage at CGI,” declining to comment further. Over the past year, Bankman-Fried — who lived full-time in the Bahamas before being extradited to the United States in December — has mostly spoken at virtual conferences.

Those close to the Clintons say the power couple’s relationship with the scruffy 30-year-old cryptocurrency executive follows a familiar pattern: Busy business leaders gain credibility by hanging on to the Clintons — and in return, the Clintons receive a check.

“The Clintons’ involvement gave SBF some air cover,” a former confidant told the Post.

Clinton Global
Sam Bankman-Fried was named speaker at the Clinton Global Initiative in September.

For those who bought FTX, it’s been a painful journey, with the bankrupt company’s top 50 million creditors owing $3.1 billion, according to court documents. This week, new FTX management said it was aiming to recoup tens of millions of dollars in political donations that Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives had made.

In response, many recipients of Bankman-Fried money gave it all back. Political action committees like the Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC have pledged to return millions. Beto O’Rourke’s Texas gubernatorial campaign brought in $1 million, while Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) and incoming House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) donated their FTX donations to charity.

The Clintons, on the other hand, remained silent. Legal experts say Clinton speaking fees are unlikely to be recovered, but critics say he is unlikely to keep the money as thousands have lost their pensions and savings in the hands of Bankman-Fried.

Bankman-Fried attended Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles alongside many important famous names.
Instagram/Michael Kives

“I don’t think every public figure should give back every dollar from every tarnished source, but it’s obviously wrong to keep the money that the orchestrator of a Ponzi scheme paid you to lend their credibility,” Jeff Hauser, founder and director of the Revolving Door Project, a progressive group that examines money and corruption in politics, told the Post.

“They should just apologize and return the money now,” another insider told the Post. “It’s only going to get more complicated.”

Sources told the Post that it was former Hollywood agent Michael Kives who served as an aide to Bill and Hillary Clinton who helped connect the two. Kives — who now runs a venture capital firm called K5 Global — scooped up $300 million last year from FTX’s now-defunct investment arm, Alameda Research, according to reports.

Kives declined to comment. A lawyer for Bankman-Fried did not respond to a request for comment.

fried banker sam
Bill Clinton was paid north of $250,000 when he spoke at the SBF’s Crypto Bahamas conference.

This isn’t the first time the Clintons have tangled with accused fraudsters like Bankman-Fried. In 2015, they tangled with Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at the Clinton Global Initiative, where Bill interviewed the convicted fraudster about the future of equality and opportunity.

Holmes had even prepared to host a fundraiser for Hilary’s presidential campaign in 2016 – more than five months after a best-selling Wall Street Journal article revealed allegations of wrongdoing. It was canceled a few days ago.


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