July 19, 2024
FTX crypto fraud victims to get their money back -- plus interest


Bankruptcy lawyers representing customers impacted by the dramatic crash of cryptocurrency exchange FTX 17 months ago say that the vast majority of victims will receive their money back — plus interest.

The news comes six months after FTX co-founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was found guilty on seven counts related to fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, with some $8 billion of customers’ funds going missing. SBF was hit with a 25-year prison sentence in March, and ordered to pay $11 billion in forfeiture. The crypto mogul filed an appeal last month that could last years.

Restructuring

After filing for bankruptcy in late 2022, SBF stood down and U.S. attorney John J. Ray III was brought in as CEO and “chief restructuring officer,” charged with overseeing FTX’s reorganization. Shortly after taking over, Ray said in testimony that despite some of the audits that had been done previously at FTX, he didn’t “trust a single piece of paper in this organization.” In the months that followed, Ray and his team set about tracking the missing funds, with some $8 billion placed in real estate, political donations, and VC investments — including a $500 million investment in AI company Anthropic before the generative AI boom, which the FTX estate managed to sell earlier this year for $884 million.

Initially, it seemed unlikely that investors would recoup much, if any, of their money, but signs in recent months suggested that good news might be on the horizon, with progress made on clawing back cash via various investments FTX had made, as well as from executives involved with the company.

We now know that 98% of FTX creditors will receive 118% of the value of their FTX-stored assets in cash, while the other creditors will receive 100% — plus “billions in compensation for the time value of their investments,” according to a press release issued by the FTX estate today.

In total, FTX says that it will be able to distribute between $14.5 and $16.3 billion in cash, which includes assets currently under control of entities including chapter 11 debtors, liquidators, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, the United States Department of Justice, among various other parties.

While the reorganization plan will need approval from the relevant bankruptcy court, the intention, they say, is to resolve all ongoing disputes with stakeholders and government, “without costly and protracted litigation.”

It is worth noting here that creditors won’t benefit from the Bitcoin boom that has emerged from the crypto industry since FTX went belly-up. At the time of its bankruptcy filing, FTX had a huge shortfall in Bitcoin and Ethereum — far less than customers believed it actually owned.

As such, the appreciation in value of these tokens won’t be realized as part of this settlement.



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