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- Some of Sam Bankman-Fried’s top advisers were former officials at the CFTC and SEC, according to the LA Times.
- Emails viewed by the Times show these advisers helped arrange meetings for SBF with regulators.
- “Can you please accommodate a request to have a brief discussion on this? Many thanks for considering.”
Sam Bankman-Fried employed several former federal regulators who helped FTX connect with officials at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Emails viewed by the Times show how these top deputies of Bankman-Fried were able to help FTX gain access in Washington, DC, before the crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy last month. And three executives in particular were highlighted by the report.
FTX general counsel Ryne Miller previously served as legal counsel to then-CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler, who is now serving as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mark Wetjen previously served as acting chairman and commissioner at the CFTC and is a current director at FTX affiliate LedgerX after earlier working as FTX’s head of policy and regulatory strategy.
Jill Sommers is also a former CFTC commissioner and worked on the FTX US Derivatives board of directors.
In one instance in October 2021, Miller helped Bankman-Fried meet and dine with former CFTC Commissioner Dan Berkovitz, who is the SEC’s general counsel, according to emails the Times obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.
“I think the last time I went there with you was at your CFTC going away dinner with Gary, in 2013,” Miller wrote to Berkovitz, who reimbursed Miller for his share of the dinner.
Last week, SEC announced Berkovitz’s resignation effective in February, and Miller declined to comment to the Times.
And in August 2021, Wetjen requested a meeting with CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam and his chief of staff. Hours later, the meeting was secured, the Times said.
“Reaching out to seek some time to discuss with you a LedgerX matter of considerable urgency,” Wetjen wrote to Behnam. “Can you please accommodate a request to have a brief discussion on this? Many thanks for considering.”
Behnam was forthright about his meeting with Bankman-Fried when asked on December 1 by the Senate Agriculture Committee, and said the meeting was related to FTX’s clearinghouse application.
“Over the past 14 months, we met 10 times in the CFTC office at their request all in relation to … this clearinghouse application,” Behnam said. “There were very, very strong feelings about this application. And I felt I needed to be engaged as the chairman of the agency that met directly with FTX and Mr. Bankman-Fried.”The clearinghouse application was never approved, a spokesperson for Behnam told the Times.