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FTX’s New CEO ‘Misrepresented’ Actions Taken By Bahamian Authorities
In a national statement delivered live on the Facebook page of the Office of the Bahamas Prime Minister, the Bahamas Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs Ryan Pinder stated that it was “extremely regrettable” that FTX’s new CEO John Ray III “misrepresented the timely action taken by the Securities Commission and used inaccurate allegations.”
Pinder also defended the steps the country’s regulators took in the aftermath of the exchange’s collapse, and confirmed that the FTX is the focus of an “active and ongoing” investigation in the country.
“Any attempt to lay the entirety of this debacle at the feet of the Bahamas because FTX is headquartered here would be a gross oversimplification of reality. It is deeply misguided to conclude that reluctance to communicate the details of an active investigation means that nothing is happening.”
Pinder spoke Sunday night during a national address over Facebook Live, where he urged all international authorities to “exercise at least the same amount of prudence and restraint in their public commentary as we do so as not to prejudice any of the proceedings that are ongoing.”
Tension has been building between authorities in the Bahamas and FTX’s new management. After freezing FTX assets, the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) said it seized FTX Digital Markets’ assets on November 12 and transferred all its assets to a digital wallet under its control.
In his speech, Pinder emphasized that “the speed of which the Securities Commission was able to move was remarkable by any standard.”
“Placing FTX Digital Markets in provisional liquidation was not sufficient to protect the customers and creditors of the company,” he said. “Therefore (…) the Securities commission secured the assets of FTX Digital Markets to be held on behalf of and for the benefit and restitution of clients and creditors of FTX.”
FTX had said it had “credible evidence that the Bahamian government is responsible for directing unauthorized access to the Debtors’ systems for the purpose of obtaining digital assets of the Debtors” in a filing calling for one of the existing FTX bankruptcy cases in Delaware to be transferred to New York – which court-appointed liquidators for FTX in the Bahamas agreed to this week.
FTX and Alameda Research filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Delaware court on Nov. 11. Then on Nov 15, FTX Digital Markets – the Bahamas-based subsidiary of FTX – filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in New York, with FTX’s lawyers calling the move “a blatant attempt to avoid the supervision of this Court and to keep FTX DM isolated form the administration of the rest of the Debtors, which constitute the vast majority of the remainder of the FTX group,” in a filing.
They also said former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was trying to undermine the U.S. Chapter 11 case by tying assets up in the Bahamas.
Pinder said the investigation of FTX by the country’s authorities is still in the early stages and that “ill-informed speculation” isn’t helpful.
Putin Calls For Blockchain-Based International Payment System
During an event organized by Russia’s largest bank ‘Sberbank,’ Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly criticized the monopoly in global financial payment systems and called for an independent and blockchain-based settlement network.
“The technology of digital currencies and blockchains can be used to create a new system of international settlements that will be much more convenient, absolutely safe for its users and, most importantly, will not depend on banks or interference by third countries. I am confident that something like this will certainly be created and will develop because nobody likes the dictate of monopolists, which is harming all parties, including the monopolists themselves.”
Putin also noted that global payments and nations are at risk due to tense relations between Russia and the West following Ukraine’s invasion, labeling sanctions imposed by countries as “illegitimate restrictions.”
“The existing system of international payments is expensive, the system of its correspondent accounts and regulation are controlled by a narrow club of states and financial groups,” noted the Russian president.
A day before, the local media reported that lawmakers have been in discussions for amendments to the existing cryptocurrency legislation, laying down a legal framework for a national exchange.
Another recent development, a bill was introduced into the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on Nov. 17 legalizing cryptocurrency mining and the sale fo the cryptocurrency mined.
Cointelegraph reported that the chairman of the Duma Financial Markets Committee Anatoly Aksakov believes the “passage of the law will bring this activity into the legal field, and make it possible to form a law enforcement practice on issues related to the issuance and circulation of digital currencies.”
Currently, cryptocurrency cannot be used for settlements in Russia.
Alameda Research Withdrew $204M Ahead Of Bankruptcy Filing: Arkham Intelligence
According to an analysis from blockchain firm Arkham Intelligence, Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto hedge fund Alameda Research withdrew over $200 million dollars from FTX.US right before it filed for bankruptcy.
Among the withdrawn funds, $116 million, or 57.1% were in stablecoins pegged to the US dollar, $49.49 million (24.2%) of the funds was in Ether and $38.06 million, or 18.7%, was in Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC).
“The withdrawn wBTC was sent to the Alameda WBTC Merchant wallet, and then bridged in its entirety to the BTC blockchain,” said Arkham, adding that of the $204 million transferred, $142.4 million, or 69%, was sent to wallets owned by FTX International, “suggesting that Alameda may have been operating to bridge between the two entities.”
A major portion of the withdrawn funds overall (69%) were sent to FTX International and the rest was distributed elsewhere including a large active trading wallet.
The firm noted that it’s “unknown whether the almost 14M in ETH was sent to 0xa20 as part of a trade, or as an international fund transfer within Alameda.”
Another $10.4 million was sent to the rival cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
In the initial bankruptcy filing to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, new FTX CEO John Ray III described the situation as the worst he had seen in his corporate career, highlighting the “complete failure of corporate controls” and an absence of trustworthy financial information.
About 130 companies in the FTX group – including FTX Trading, FTX US, under West Realm Shires Services, and Alameda Research – filed for bankruptcy in the United States November 11.