John J. Ray III, CEO of FTX Group, testifies during the House Financial Services Committee hearing titled Investigating the Collapse of FTX Part I, on December 13, 2022 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Ray took over the FTX after the resignation of Sam Bankman-Fried.

Bankrupt FTX exchange has recovered US$5 bln worth of ‘liquid’ assets, lawyers say

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The collapsed crypto exchange FTX has recovered at least US$5 billion of liquid assets, including cryptocurrency and securities, liquidators told a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Delaware on Wednesday. 

The US$5 billion does not include crypto in the custody of the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, said FTX bankruptcy team attorney Adam Landis. According to Landis, the assets under the control of the Bahamian authorities are highly volatile and were estimated to be worth about US$170 million at the end of 2022. 

Former FTX Chief Executive Officer Sam Bankman-Fried, who now faces multiple charges of fraud and theft of customer deposits, lived in and operated many of FTX’s subsidiaries from the Bahamas, and U.S. and Bahamian-based liquidators had previously clashed over jurisdiction control of the exchange’s international assets. FTX had been valued at $32 billion before its collapse in November last year.

However, Landis said FTX administrators have now come to a “cooperation agreement” with the Bahama’s provisional liquidators, as well as with liquidators in Australia where the only other FTX subsidiaries are subject to separate bankruptcy proceedings. 

“The principle of that agreement is simple, it does not matter who collects US$1 for customers, as long as the customers get it,” he added. Additionally, Landis said plans were underway “to monetize” over 300 other FTX non-strategic investments with a book value of over US$4.6 billion.

See related article: Japan ruling party lawmaker calls for regulatory clarity after FTX debacle

FTX’s legal team noted that the US$5 billion in located assets doesn’t include a portion of the company’s cryptocurrencies that are illiquid. Landis explained that the company’s crypto holdings are so large that selling some of the digital assets would have a substantial impact on their market value.

FTX came under scrutiny in early November when it was revealed that its brokerage arm, Alameda Research, held a massive amount of the exchange’s cryptocurrency token, raising concerns of liquidity issues and commingled funds. Bankman-Fried, 30, founded and was the majority owner of both Almeda and FTX. 

He was extradited to the U.S. on December 21 and has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He is now under house arrest at his parent’s home in California on a US$250 million bail bond.

John J. Ray stepped in as FTX’s CEO in place of Bankman-Fried after the conglomerate declared bankruptcy on Nov. 11. Ray previously testified that at least US$8 billion of customer assets were missing.

The hearing came a week after federal prosecutors moved to seize over US$450 million worth of financial services company Robinhood shares connected to FTX as part of their ongoing prosecution of Bankman-Fried. 

During the hearing, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John Dorsey sided with FTX’s legal team in a motion to keep the names of about 9 million FTX customers and creditors closed to the public. However, the judge allowed the names to remain sealed for three months, not the six months requested by FTX’s lawyers.



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