The actions of disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s law professor parents are under heavy scrutiny this week following the former billionaire’s arrest on an array of federal charges.
Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, both professors at Stanford University, raised eyebrows on Tuesday with their behavior at their son’s extradition hearing in the Bahamas.
About 1,000 miles away on Capitol Hill, new FTX CEO John Ray revealed during bombshell testimony that he was “investigating” the parents’ role in FTX’s downfall.
Bankman, who received payments from FTX and was heavily involved in the doomed platform’s operations, was seen sporadically plugging his ears during the hearing “as if to drown out the sound of the proceedings,” CoinDesk reported.
Fried appeared disdainful of the court’s characterization of Bankman-Fried as a “fugitive” and “audibly laughed several times,” according to the report.
The embattled parents reportedly sat in the third row and “appeared to oscillate between dejection and defiance” during the hearing, which culminated in a judge denying Bankman-Fried’s request for $250,000 in cash bail. He will remain in a hellish Bahamas jail until his next hearing on Feb. 8.
During his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee, Ray confirmed that Bankman had given “legal advice” to his son at FTX and received cash payments from the company.
“I don’t know if he actually had ‘employee’ status, but he certainly received payments, the family did receive payments,” Ray said.
The Post has reached out to a spokesperson for Bankman and Fried for comment.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), who had questioned Ray about the crypto kid’s parents — both of whom have strong ties to Democrats — noted that Bankman-Fried was “at least 15 minutes late” to a meeting at his office in December 2021 and that “his father accompanied him” on the visit.
“It seems to me that there’s a lot more to uncover here. Certainly, Mr. Bankman-Fried has, let’s say, ‘wooed many’ in New York, Silicon Valley, around the world and yes, certainly here in DC,” Huizenga said.
Property records obtained by Reuters showed FTX had purchased a $16.4 million luxury beachfront property for the parents that was meant as a “vacation home.”
“I know it was not intended to be their long-term property. It was intended to be the company’s property. I don’t know how that was papered in,” Bankman-Fried claimed last month.
Bankman, who helped craft Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s failed legislation to simplify the tax code in 2016, regularly accompanied his son to meetings on Capitol Hill during FTX’s rise to prominence in the cryptocurrency sector. He also played an active role in guiding the company’s philanthropic efforts and even introduced his son to an influential investor, Orlando Bravo.
While Fried was not a paid employee of FTX, she was closely tied to her son’s donations of tens of millions of dollars to Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. The ex-billionaire contributed to a political advocacy network that Fried oversaw.
The parents’ involvement with FTX has also impacted their standing at Stanford, where they have become a “subject of gossip” among colleagues, according to the New York Times.
“I had a friend who said, ‘You don’t want to be seen with them,’” Larry Kramer, a former dean at Stanford’s law school and a family friend, told the outlet. “I don’t see how this doesn’t bankrupt them.”
Bankman and Fried “have told friends that their son’s legal bills will likely wipe them out financially,” the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week.
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