Sam Bankman-Fried considered paying Trump $5 billion not to run for office, Michael Lewis claims

Quick Take

  • Michael Lewis said the disgraced FTX founder had explored paying Donald Trump not to run for president.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the failed crypto exchange FTX, looked into paying Donald Trump $5 billion not to run for the presidency, Michael Lewis claimed.

Lewis, acclaimed author of "The Big Short" and "Flash Boys," made the claim in a CBS interview that aired Sunday.

"So he did get an answer… 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," Lewis said.

Lewis added that Bankman-Fried was also investigating whether such a payment would be legal. “The question Sam had was not just, ‘Is $5 billion enough to pay Trump not to run,’ but ‘Was it legal?’” he said.

Mark Botnick, a spokesperson for Bankman-Fried, declined to comment on the potential payment. 


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Political donations

Prior to FTX's collapse, Bankman-Fried was as an active political donor. Federal prosecutors have reportedly probed his donations to both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

Bankman-Fried could face over 100 years in prison if convicted on an array of charges including fraud in his upcoming trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday.

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.

About Author

Timmy Shen is an Asia reporter for The Block. Previously, he wrote about crypto and Web3 for Forkast.News from Taiwan after spending more than three years in Beijing covering finance and current affairs at Caixin Global and Chinese tech at TechNode. His China-related reporting has also appeared in The Guardian. When he's not chasing headlines, you'll find him savoring hot pot and shabu shabu in a Taipei local haunt. Timmy holds an MS degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Send tips to [email protected] or get in touch on X/Telegram @timmyhmshen.


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