EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Sam Bankman-Fried spent a lot of money during his year in the Bahamas — before his crypto empire collapsed and he filed for bankruptcy after allegedly mismanaging the funds of nearly a million customers.
He bought a $40 million penthouse overlooking the water on three sides and a $60 million plot of land on which he “broke ground” on the FTX’s future headquarters, but construction never began. When visited on Sunday, the site was a weed fenced road with views of the Atlantic.
Bankman-Fried allegedly spent tens of thousands of dollars a week feeding his employees living in the Bahamas before his $32 billion crypto empire collapsed. In addition, he owns a multi-million dollar, 52-foot HCB yacht.
He donated millions to the local government and Bahamian charities, prompting local media to report that “FTX tentacles extend to the Bahamas.”
“They were walking around the Bahamas making it rain,” a Ukrainian ex-boss who works in finance on the island told Fox News Digital Sunday.
However, after Bankman-Fried exposed financial problems, filed for bankruptcy and was fired, John Ray, who was appointed CEO of FTX, alleged in court filings that FTX and its dozens of sister companies lacked functional accounting and human resources departments, Bankman-Fried’s and said that he was appointed to the position of CEO. received a $1 billion personal loan from one of his firms.
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“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate control and complete absence of reliable financial information as occurred here,” he wrote in a filing this week after noting that he twice worked on Enron’s bankruptcy. “From broken systems integrity and flawed regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this is unprecedented.”
Ray, the attorney who oversaw Enron’s $23 billion bankruptcy in 2001, added that he had “no confidence” in FTX’s balance sheets.
A filing on Nov. 19 revealed that the exchange owes about $3.1 billion to its 50 largest creditors, all of whom are customers but are not named in the filing. The total liabilities of the companies are estimated at more than 10 billion dollars. About a million customers and other investors face billions of dollars in losses.
For her part, Bankman-Fried declined to answer Fox News Digital when asked if her shopping spree in the Bahamas was paid for with client assets. He also declined numerous requests for an interview.
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At Cocoplum, a boutique bistro just down the street from FTX’s headquarters on New Providence Island, he spent $2,500 a day.
It’s the kind of place a single diner would spend $80 and change for a New York steak and two Diet Cokes.
Employees said the restaurant is one of the few local caterers to regularly deliver the lunches, which cost about $10,000 a day.
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According to the employees, FTX employees also came for lunch meetings with guests during working hours. But according to one bartender, they never came back for happy hour.
“They are ignorant people,” he said. “They don’t hang.”
According to Ray’s court filings, FTX employed about 300 people on the island, although a complete staff list was not available.
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A handful of inner circle executives lived with Bankman-Fried in his oceanfront penthouse, inside the ultra-exclusive Albany Resort. The 600-acre private community includes a mega-yacht marina, a private school and a golf course designed by co-owner Ernie Els. The central lawn of the complex features a Wall Street bull statue and a free-standing “Fearless Girl” statue overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Bankman-Fried lives atop a low-rise building in the shape of a yacht with views of the marina, the ocean, and the frenetic architecture of the rest of the complex. He and his entourage reportedly experimented with prescription stimulants and polyamory — or multiple romantic relationships — while raking in billions of dollars from their clients.
Albany, on the shores of disgraced fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s ancient temple-themed estate, is owned by Tiger Woods, Els, Justin Timberlake and British financier Joe Lewis, whose 322-foot, $150 million live-in superyacht was seen floating offshore all weekend. Designed to support luxury yachts up to 250 feet in length, it’s actually too big for Albany Marina.
Forbes named the Albany community “one of the world’s most exclusive resorts” in 2019.
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Crews rake the beaches at low tide to remove seaweed and other debris. A sand pile near the bridge is used to renew the narrow beach.
There’s a hotel in the area, where a woman who answered the phone sent documents showing that the nightly cost for members only was $5,100, plus tax. Memberships start at $6,000.
On Sunday, the curtains were drawn at Bankman-Fried’s penthouse retreat, but a single floor-to-ceiling window was open, the curtains dancing in a light Bahamian breeze — until someone closed them.
A passing yachtsman said he regularly runs into Bankman-Fried, his 52-foot, multi-million dollar HCB boat.
“No one has seen him since all this happened,” he told Fox News Digital. “I keep my boat there. I used to see it every day.”
A woman at the beach said she knew Bankman-Fried, that he still lives in the penthouse, and declined to discuss the FTX situation.
Areas of Albany are closed to the public. Restaurants, clubs and other indoor areas are for members only; however, FTX personnel were said to be seen all over the island before the collapse.
Local residents told Fox News Digital that Baha Mar, a high-end five-star resort overlooking the sea on the far side of the island, is the heart of local nightlife.
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Some said wealthy FTX workers might join the rest of the island’s party population. However, while the cryptocurrency crowd may vary between tourists and trendy locals, no one contacted by Fox News Digital said they worked for FTX before the collapse.
“It shows we’re open to digital intelligence, but it also shows we’re open to fraud,” said one boss who said he worked in marketing. “What really matters is how they respond to these kids.”
Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.