Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried's calendar was full of meetings with people in power in September 2022, less than two months before the exchange's collapse, according to the testimony of Richard Busick, a special agent with the FBI's Cellular Analysis Survey Team.
Busick testified in New York Southern District court on Tuesday as a prosecution witness in Bankman-Fried's ongoing criminal trial.
According to Busick, he was assigned to locate the whereabouts of Bankman-Fried's mobile phone using the data from cell towers between June 2021 and November 2022. That mobile phone data, together with emails retrieved by the Department of Justice, detailed a busy September.
According to the emails, on Sept. 20, Bankman-Fried was listed as having a meeting with former President Bill Clinton at a Hilton hotel in New York City, Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Kudla told the court. Just days earlier on Sept. 16, Bankman-Fried was recorded as meeting with the New York State Governor Kathy Hochul at a restaurant, "most likely, Capital Grille on East 42nd Street," Kudla told the court, adding that the exact location hasn't been confirmed by Hochul's office yet.
During the next two days, Bankman-Fried was said to have met with Yasir bin Othman Al-Rumayyan, chairman of the Saudi state-owned petroleum company Saudi Aramco, and Saudi Arabia's minister of investments Khalid A. Al-Falih, according to the emails and cell phone data gathered by the DOJ.
Bankman-Fried also had a meeting with New York City mayor Eric Adams on March 3, 2022, according to the data cited by Kudla.
The contents of the meetings or the reasons they were held wasn't disclosed.
SBF political influence campaign
Earlier this week, Nishad Singh, FTX's former Head of Engineering, detailed efforts by Bankman-Friend to direct political donations. His efforts to acquire political influence also emerged as a key theme in Michael Lewis’ new book, "Going Infinite."
FTX went through a liquidity crisis in early Nov. 2022 and filed for bankruptcy on Nov.11. In December, a U.S. grand jury charged Bankman-Fried with fraud, after which he was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the U.S.
Around that time, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder and former CTO Gary Wang pled guilty to several charges of fraud each. Nishad Singh also pled guilty two months later. All three have testified as prosecution witnesses during Sam Bankman-Fried's ongoing trial in New York.
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.
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