US prosecutors sieze $700m from FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried amidst fraud charges, as current chief considers restarting bankrupt platform
US prosecutors said late on Friday they had seized about $700 million (£565m) of cash and equities from Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, as he fights criminal charges related to the bankruptcy.
The assets, detailed in a court filing, included more than $500m of shares in trading platform Robinhood and funds in three accounts on crypto exchange Binance, the values of which weren’t disclosed.
The seizures took place over the past few weeks while Bankman-Fried was under house arrest in California after being released on a $250m bond, prosecutors said.
Bankman-Fried was extradited to the US from the Bahamas in December.
Meanwhile, current FTX chief executive John Ray III, a bankruptcy expert, said in an interview late last week he is considering reviving the platform in order to “recover more value” for people who lost money.
Ray told the Wall Street Journal in a Thursday report that he has set up a task force to explore restarting FTX as a crypto exchange.
The exchange was valued at $32bn and was one of the biggest platforms of its kind, with millions of users around the world, before filing for bankrupcy protection in November with an estimated $8bn missing from its accounts.
Bankman-Fried has been accused of using customers’ funds to pay the debts of his crypto-oriented hedge fund Alameda Research. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ray, who oversaw the bankruptcy of US energy giant Enron, previously said he had never “seen such a complete failure of corporate controls” as what he has found at FTX.
The failure of FTX was part of a “crypto winter” that began early last year and saw the collapse of major crypto organisations, including the failure of the Terra Luna and TerraUSD coins in May.
That failure led to a $400bn drop in the value of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and an Interpol red notice being put out for the arrest of Terra creator Do Kwon in September.
South Korean authorities said in December they believe Kwon is hiding in Serbia, which has no extradition treaty with South Korea.