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Bahamas denies asking FTX to mint millions in tokens

January 3, 2022
FTX logo (Via CMC)

Nassau, Bahamas CMC – The Securities Commission of The Bahamas (SCB) is denying allegations that it had directed the failed crypto-exchange, FTX, to mint US$300m tokens prior to its collapse.

“The Securities Commission of The Bahamas must once again correct material misstatements made by Mr. John J Ray III, the representative of the US FTX debtors (Chapter 11 Debtors), in both the press and court filings,” the SCB said in a statement as it challenged Ray on his allegations they had any control over the failed crypto-exchange’s assets after its filing for liquidation and Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The SCB said that on December 30, last year, the Chapter 11 Debtors publicly challenged the Commission’s calculations of the digital assets which were transferred to digital wallets controlled by the Commission on November 12, 2022, for safekeeping in the exercise of its powers as regulator acting under the authority of an Order made by the Supreme Court here.

It said such public assertions by the Chapter 11 Debtors were based on incomplete information.

“The Chapter 11 Debtors chose not to utilize their ability to request information from the Joint Provisional Liquidators pursuant to a court order of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas that the Commission obtained in an effort to allow the Chapter 11 Debtors to obtain this information.

“The US Debtors’ continued lack of diligence when making public statements concerning the Commission is disappointing, and reflects a cavalier attitude towards the truth and towards The Bahamas that has been displayed by the current officers of the Chapter 11 Debtors from the date of their appointment by Sam Bankman-Fried.”

The SCB in its statement said previously, Ray had made public statements alleging that the Commission gave instructions to ‘mint a substantial amount of new tokens’.

“These statements were made in a court filing on December 12, 2022, without evidence, and then made again under oath, on December 13, before the United States’ House Financial Services Committee.

“Statements suggesting that Bahamian officials directed FTX employees to mint US$300m in new FTT tokens were widely reported by the international press. Such unfounded statements have the impact of promoting mistrust of public institutions in The Bahamas.

“The Commission addressed the process by which it took possession of digital assets under the custody or control of FTX Digital Markets Ltd. (FTXDM) or its principals, both in a court filing and, its statement of December 29, 2022.”

The SBC said that the Chapter 11 Debtors have also alleged that the digital assets controlled by the Commission in trust for the benefit of customers and creditors of FTXDM were “stolen, without providing any substantiated bases for such claims, particularly, as to their claims to ownership of the assets.

“Per US Debtors’ own court filings, they appear to recognise that there are disputed claims to those assets. As the Chapter 11 Debtors’ own filings reveal, Ryne Miller, General Counsel of FTX US, stated “As long as it’s custodied somewhere safe, we can sort it out as the time goes”. Mr Miller correctly recognized what the Commission recognised at the time: that it was vital that assets be custodied somewhere safe to secure those assets, and allow any disputed claims to those assets to be resolved at a later date.”

The SBC said that Ray had never reached out to confirm any information before making allegations and that it “has still not received a response to its 7 December 2022 letter to Mr Ray offering cooperation with Chapter 11 Debtors.

“The Commission is extremely concerned that its investigation (particularly the gathering of critical supporting evidence) is being impeded by the Chapter 11 Debtors’ insistence on not allowing the Court Supervised Joint Provisional Liquidators access to FTX’s AWS system.

“The Commission notes that proceedings being conducted by the authorities in relevant jurisdictions should have the dual aim of pursuing justice and ensuring that all customers and creditors of FTX be made whole, with the support and cooperation among supervisory authorities in each country.

“To this end, the Commission hopes that the Chapter 11 Debtors proceed with these matters in good faith and the best interest of customers and creditors of FTX.”

Last December, the chief executive officer of the of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried, was extradited to the United States after he was arrested here.

A grand jury indictment charged Bankman-Fried with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud against lenders and customers, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and violations of campaign finance laws.

Bankman-Fried, 30, who could spend the rest of his life in jail, also faces separate charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC complaint alleges that Bankman-Fried diverted customer funds without customers’ knowledge from FTX to Alameda Research, his private crypto fund, and used that money for “fraudulent” purposes, including real estate purchases and political donations.

FTX, which is registered here as FTX Digital Markets Ltd. moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas last year and the police here launched an investigation into FTX that had been backed by elite investors like BlackRock and Sequoia Capital, rapidly becoming one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world.

In November, FTX filed for bankruptcy in the US, leaving many users unable to withdraw their funds.

According to a court filing, FTX owed its 50 largest creditors almost US$3.1billion.

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