Alameda seeks to claw back $700 million SBF paid 'super networkers'

Quick Take

  • The hedge fund arm of Sam Bankman-Fried’s empire is seeking $700 million the former billionaire dolled out to “super networkers,” according to a recent court filing.
  • Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was known for his lucrative donations across sport, art, and the political realm. 

Former billionaire and founder of bankrupt exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried dolled out millions for access to the world's most powerful people. And now the estate wants those millions back. 

According to a filing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Sam Bankman-Fried promised billions of dollars to Michael Kives and Bryan Baum of K5 Global. Following a dinner party at Kives' residence, the duo and Bankman-Fried entered into a hasty financial relationship that culminated in Baum and Kives, and related entities, being transferred about $700 million. Much of the payments were sent to shell companies controlled by the defendants. 

Baum also had a room reserved for him in one of the luxury Bahamian apartments Bankman-Fried had purchased.

Flush with cash

FTX and Bankman-Fried were known for their flush with cash spending across the sport, art, and the political realm. A supporter of so-called effective altruism, Bankman-Fried said he planned to donate the vast majority of his wealth to charitable causes. Of course, that was before his exchange blew up and he was accused of fraud and misappropriating client funds. 

The filing alleges that Bankman-Fried saw Baum and Kives as one way to expand his influence among celebrities and political glitterati. 

In an internal note, Bankman-Fried said that Baum and Kives could provide "infinite connections" as well as "potential unpaid partnerships with celebrities." He added that they also wanted to provide FTX with contacts for the firm to "work with them on Democratic politics."

K5 said in a statement that the "lawsuit is without merit." 

“K5 is a Venture Capital firm with over $1 billion in assets under management (apart from any funds from SBF and his affiliates) and has investments in 148 companies. In mid-2022 an affiliate of Sam Bankman-Fried and Alameda bought a third of K5’s general partnership for cash and stock, and ultimately made a $400 million investment in certain funds managed by K5. K5 was under the impression – like many others – that SBF was completely legitimate and they were entering into a fair, long-term, and mutually beneficial business relationship. Our belief is that the lawsuit is without merit," the firm said. 

In recent days, the estate has been the subject of scrutiny over the fees and expenses it is paying to lawyers and financial advisors as it attempts to recover assets for creditors. The Block Research team found FTX paid over $120 million in advisor fees between February 1 and April 30. 

Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.