Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried claims he has just $100,000 left in his bank account after the implosion of his cryptocurrency empire.
The remarks Monday marked Bankman-Fried’s first attempt to explain his current personal wealth during intense scrutiny over his handling of FTX’s finances. The firm’s new leaders have condemned Bankman-Fried’s management of the company as they navigate a disastrous bankruptcy.
“Am I allowed to say a negative number?” Bankman-Fried told Axios regarding his personal finances. “I mean, I have no idea. I don’t know. I had $100,000 in my bank account last I checked.”
“It’s complicated. Basically everything I had was just tied up in the company,” Bankman-Fried added.
The paltry sum would be a dramatic plunge from Bankman-Fried’s estimated net worth of $16 billion before FTX collapsed this month. Bloomberg placed the value of FTX’s US branch at just $1 and removed Bankman-Fried’s $575 million stake in the retail stock trading platform Robinhood from its math after Reuters reported it was held by the now-defunct firm Alameda Research.
The extent of Bankman-Fried’s personal wealth will face constant review as officials seek to recover FTX funds. In a recent court filing, FTX said it owed its top 50 creditors a whopping $3 billion, while Reuters previously reported that at least $1 billion in client funds – and potentially much more – is still missing.
Bankman-Fried secretly transferred $10 billion in FTX client funds in a failed bid to prop up Alameda Research and its risky bets, according to Reuters. Alameda, FTX’s sister company, has since been shuttered.
Bankman-Fried’s interview with Axios did not address claims in bankruptcy court that the FTX founder treated the company as if it were his “personal fiefdom.”
FTX’s new legal team alleged that Bankman-Fried and his close associates at FTX pillaged the company’s coffers, spending some $300 million on Bahamas real estate – with most of that money used to acquire mansions and beachfront property.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bankman-Fried cashed out $300 million last year just after FTX closed a $420.69 million fundraising round. At the time, Bankman-Fried reportedly told FTX investors the money was a partial reimbursement because he bought out rival platform Binance’s stake in the firm.
The allegations cut against Bankman-Fried’s attempts in recent years to portray himself as a humble, T-shirt-and-shorts-wearing benefactor to handpicked progressive causes and Democratic political candidates.