- Sam Bankman-Fried, the FTX founder, is in jail and faces several federal charges.
- At one point, Bankman-Fried was also a significant donor to Democrats and Republicans.
- He looked into whether he could pay Donald Trump not to run in 2024, Michael Lewis wrote.
Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of FTX, once wondered if it would be legal to pay Donald Trump not to run for office in 2024 and how much it would cost, according to Michael Lewis.
In a recent “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday, Lewis, author of “The Big Short” and a new book on the disgraced cryptocurrency exchange founder, “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon,” revealed Bankman-Fried even got a potential dollar figure back.
“So he did get an answer,” Lewis said. “There was a number that was kicking around. And the number that was kicking around when I was talking to Sam about this was $5 billion.”
One of the ways Bankman-Fried spent his wealth was by making political donations. In the 2022 midterm elections, he donated $40 million to Democrats, but he has also admitted that he was a large Republican donor.
For 2024, Bankman-Fried wanted to make another contribution to the election but in a different way, according to “60 Minutes” correspondent Jon Wertheim.
“One of the most shocking passages in this book, I thought, came with this revelation that Sam had looked into paying Donald Trump not to run,” Wertheim said in an interview with Lewis.
Lewis said that Bankman-Fried never learned if the $5 billion number came directly from Trump. The FTX founder also wondered if paying Trump not to run would even be legal, according to Lewis.
“Isn’t Sam Bankman-Fried a liar who has been outed as a fraudster and someone that can’t be trusted,” Steven Cheung, Trump’s spokesperson, wrote in a brief response to an inquiry from Insider.
Just a few years ago, Bankman-Fried, or SBF, was a top name in the crypto world, holding at one point a net worth of $26.5 billion, according to Forbes.
That status quickly came crashing down along with his entire crypto exchange empire in 2022.
FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing revealed how Bankman-Fried’s trading firm, Alameda Research, and its assets were dependent on FTX’s in-house crypto tokens as collateral. This created issues and spooked investors when crypto prices began to sink that year. Reports also revealed that FTX lent billions of dollars of customer funds to the trading firm.
Bankman-Fried now sits in a Brooklyn detention center, facing seven federal charges, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and money laundering.
Bankman-Friend’s attorney did not return a request for comment sent during the weekend.