The world of American politics is shaken by the fall of its generous donor Bankman-Fried – 12/15/2022 at 04:19

Sam Bankman Fried (c) escorted by members of the Bahamian police on December 13, 2022 in Nassau (AFP / Mario Duncanson)

Sauve-qui-peut: America’s political elite, which benefited from large financial contributions from Sam Bankman-Fried, is trying to distance itself from the fallen cryptocurrency star, accused by the orchestra of a massive fraud.

The 30-year-old, now imprisoned in the Bahamas, has been one of the biggest declared contributors to the Democratic Party in recent years, and is said to have also funded, in the same proportion but in a hidden way, the Republican camp.

The case is traced to US President Joe Biden, who received more than $5 million in donations from the businessman for his winning 2020 campaign.

Asked about it on Tuesday, her spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre kicked in: “I am limited in what I can say,” she said, citing a law that prohibits her from making comments related to in elections or campaigns.

Former boss of FTX, a cryptocurrency trading platform that is now bankrupt, Samuel Bankman-Fried was charged on Tuesday by American justice.

He claims that he used his clients’ money to carry out risky speculative operations but to influence, fraudulently, political life.

He has “made millions in contributions through his Alameda company to candidates and political committees in anticipation of the 2022 election”, which is not illegal in the United States. Except that he did so by trying to “avoid caps and transparency obligations,” read a statement released Tuesday by the New York prosecutor in charge of the case, Damian Williams.

– “Dirty money” –

The magistrate told a press conference that Samuel Bankman-Fried was making donations that appeared to come from wealthy accomplices.

“All this dirty money was used to try to buy influence within the Democratic and Republican parties, and to try to influence political decisions in Washington”, asserted the prosecutor.

New York District Attorney Damian Williams in a press conference, Dec.  13, 2022, in New York City (Getty/STEPHANIE KEITH)

New York District Attorney Damian Williams in a press conference, Dec. 13, 2022, in New York City (Getty/STEPHANIE KEITH)

On the Federal Elections Commission’s website, which lists donations, a search for Sam Bankman-Fried produced 213 results from 2020, including $5 million paid in September 2020 to a support committee for Joe Biden, then a $50,000 donation in October to the Biden Victory Fund.

The majority of disbursements reported on this site have gone to Democratic structures or candidates.

But the businessman, who has given many interviews and surprising statements while his company is taking water, assured, in an interview in November with a specialist in cryptocurrencies, Tiffany Fong, that he “gave the same value to both parties”.

“All my contributions to the Republicans were hidden,” he said, “because journalists lose their minds when you give to the Republicans. They’re all super left-wing.”

Time to settle the accounts for some beneficiaries. The money paid by Samuel Bankman-Fried, although legal, seems very poisonous.

– Influence –

Kirsten Gillibrand, Democratic Senator from New York, told the New York Post that she is giving the money received to an association that works with poor populations.

The newspaper reports similar decisions by five other lawmakers – four Democrats and one Republican.

But for elected Democrat Brad Sherman, a critic of cryptocurrencies, the “right solution” is to return to FTX customers and investors the donations made by Sam Bankman-Fried, “because it was never Bankman’s money “.

Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX logo on November 13, 2022 in Washington (AFP / Stefani Reynolds)

Sam Bankman-Fried and the FTX logo on November 13, 2022 in Washington (AFP / Stefani Reynolds)

The Open Secrets association, which specializes in decrypting political funding, calculated that with almost $39.2 million declared, the fallen cryptocurrency star ranked 6th among the most generous donors for the “midterms”. , with midterm elections held in November.

Considering Democratic Party donors alone, he ranks second only to billionaire George Soros, who donated more than $128 million through various channels to Joe Biden’s party.

Political finance in the United States is a complex business, involving billions of dollars. The regulation is more or less strict depending on whether the donations go to candidates, or to “PACs” and “Super PACs”. These “political action committees” are a type of investment fund that plays an important, sometimes underground, role in campaigns.

Investors, bosses, economic lobbies but also associations working for such and such a social cause hope, through their donations, to influence Congress, the government, the White House.

In the case of “SBF”, as it is called, the hottest political topic is certainly the regulation, in its infancy, of the high-risk cryptocurrency market.

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