Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly dined with a member of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the same federal agency he sought to have regulate the crypto industry, shortly before the crypto exchange collapsed.
According to a new report by the Los Angeles Times, FTX employed several former federal regulators, which gave Bankman-Fried access to high-ranking CFTC officials.
The report finds that in October, Ryne Miller, FTX’s general counsel, helped arrange a dinner at an upscale Indian restaurant in Washington, D.C. between Bankman-Fried and Dan Berkovitz, who at the time was a CFTC Commissioner.
Miller once worked as legal counsel for then-CFTC head Gary Gensler, who now chairs the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Miller attended the dinner along with Bankman-Friend and then-FTX President Brett Harrison. Others were invited to the dinner but it is unconfirmed if they attended.
The list includes Zach Dexter, CEO of crypto company LedgerX, former CFTC Commissioner Mark Wetjen, who joined FTX as head of policy and regulatory strategy, and Michelle Bond, the CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets.
Berkovitz, who reportedly paid Miller back $50 for his dinner expenses, has recently resigned from his current position as the SEC’s General Counsel.
What was discussed at the dinner is unclear, according to the report.
Miller also invited CFTC Commissioner Dawn Stump to a November 2021 dinner with Bankman-Fried or to visit the FTX offices in Chicago, but it’s unclear if Stump accepted the invitation.
Bankman-Fried is charged with defrauding investors, mishandling customer funds and making illegal campaign contributions. He recently posted the largest pretrial bail of all time and is awaiting trial under house arrest.
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