FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been charged with paying a $40 million bribe to a Chinese official in order to secure a business deal.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the charges against Bankman-Fried on Wednesday, alleging that he paid the bribe in order to secure a $50 million investment in a shell company called Myer Corporation. The SEC claims that Bankman-Fried had promised to pay the official a 10 percent commission, which amounted to $40 million, in exchange for the investment.
The SEC alleges that Bankman-Fried knew that the official was a government employee, and that the money he paid out was illegal. Bankman-Fried is also accused of lying to the SEC about the nature of the transaction, claiming that the $40 million was a legitimate consulting fee.
Bankman-Fried has denied the allegations and has vowed to fight the charges. In a statement, he said, “I acted with integrity and in accordance with the law in all my dealings with the SEC and Myer Corporation. I intend to vigorously defend myself against these false claims and will do everything in my power to clear my name and reputation.”
The case against Bankman-Fried is being handled by the SEC's Enforcement Division. If convicted, he could face significant fines and possibly even imprisonment.
The charges against Bankman-Fried come at a time when the SEC has been cracking down on corruption and bribery in the financial sector. This case serves as a reminder that bribes and other forms of illegal payments can have serious consequences for those involved.