NEW YORK – Two months before Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire collapsed, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis asked the crypto mogul to speak with the politician’s son about an NFT project he was consulting for, according to an email presented Tuesday as evidence by prosecutors.
The premier’s September 2022 request to Bankman-Fried underscores the cozy relationship he enjoyed with officials in the Bahamas, where the FTX exchange was based. The nation’s government has faced criticism for being too lax in its regulation of crypto companies. The Securities Commission of the Bahamas had let FTX operate without a license for more than two years. Earlier this year, the island nation sought to tighten its rules to ensure digital-asset exchanges have safeguards “adequate and appropriate for the scale and nature” of their businesses, the SCB said in April.
While questioning FBI agent Richard Busik to clarify why Bankman-Fried is facing wire fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Danielle Kudla presented an email from September 2022 to verify the phone number used by Busik in his examinations indeed belonged to Bankman-Fried.
The message, sent from a Gmail address, included an email signature with the contact information of Philip Davis, who was then and remains prime minister of the Bahamas. Davis asked Bankman-Fried if his son could call the FTX CEO to talk about an NFT project that the son was working on. In response, Bankman-Fried sent his phone number and said he’d be available via phone or Zoom, the email showed.
A spokesperson for Davis could not be reached by press time.
Davis remains a crypto fan, even after FTX’s collapse.
“Despite the naysayers, the digital-asset industry is here to stay,” he said this month, Forkast reported. The Bahamas is “committed to developing an effective and stable regulatory framework.”
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