Dashed dreams as book tells how FTX staff fled

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By RASHAD ROLLE and LYNAIRE MUNNINGS Tribune Reporters FOREIGN FTX workers reportedly rushed out of The Bahamas as legal woes ensnared the company last year, leaving behind dreams and pricey valuables. The exodus of workers, many of whom once populated the Albany community, is highlighted in a new book about Sam Bankman-Fried, the troubled founder of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange. “Some meaningful percentage of the company’s fleet of cars had been abandoned, keys still inside them, in the Bahamas airport lot,” wrote Michael Lewis, author of “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon”, which was released yesterday. Albany was reportedly once home to seventy employees and guests of FTX and Alameda Research, the cryptocurrency trading firm embroiled in legal conflict. Mr Lewis’ book covers why Bankman-Fried moved FTX’s headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas. The country’s nearness to the United States, its quickness to draft crypto regulations, attractive internet service, neutral tax system and the “truly wild number of empty luxury condominiums waiting to be turned into worker housing” lured him. The Bahamas “was sufficiently hungry for any kind of business,” Mr Lewis writes, “that when Sam landed to check out the place he found himself meeting with the newly elected prime minister. ‘Sam, we’re broke,’ the prime minister is alleged to have “confessed.” The book offers scant insight into the relationships Bankman-Fried made with locals or whether he affected government policy. Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis reacted incredulously yesterday to one of the book’s headline-grabbing assertions: that Bankman-Fried offered to pay off the country’s $9bn debt. “Who said I spoke to him?” Mr Davis asked reporters at Atlantis. “Did he say that I spoke to him? “Did he say that, or was that speculation, because who made the claim? “Don’t you think that you ought to confirm whether such a discussion was held before the question is asked? “Because for me, for my part, I had no discussion with FTX or Sam Bankman about paying off the national debt of The Bahamas.” “I don’t need to be chasing ghosts. Identify the source of the claim, and if you could identify the source and it’s a direct source, I would respond, but I don’t need to be speculating about a claim that’s made, and I don’t know what’s made.” Bankman-Fried’s fraud trial began in the United States yesterday with jury selection. The 31-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted. He is accused of embezzling customer funds and misleading investors.

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