Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), the founder and CEO of the now-defunct exchange FTX, is facing additional major losses. Court documents submitted to the Southern District of New York reveal that his multi-million dollar private jets are at risk of being forfeited.
The two private jets in question are a Bombardier Global 5000 BD-700-1A11 and an Embraer Legacy EMB-135BJ, with a combined cost of over $28.5 million. The US Attorney Damian Williams is seeking a court order to force SBF to relinquish ownership of the jets due to ongoing legal proceedings.
FTX was previously located in the Bahamas, and SBF purchased the aircraft to facilitate his global movements. Paul Aranha, a Bahamian businessman and pilot, purchased and operated the planes on behalf of SBF. Aranha’s company, Trans Islands Airways (TIA), provided private charter services amounting to approximately $15 million to SBF, FTX executives, employees, and associates.
Aranha also carried out requested upgrades for the planes, including state-of-the-art Wi-Fi installation and new interiors, although SBF was arrested before he could use them. The collapse of FTX in late 2022 halted the completion of the upgrades.
From Stardom to Infamy
Sam Bankman-Fried initially rose to fame as a self-made billionaire trader in the crypto industry. However, his image was shattered in 2022 when it was revealed that he used customer deposits for speculative investments. With the market downturn, FTX and Alameda Research found themselves owing customers $8 billion.
SBF now faces fraud charges and multiple indictments. During his ongoing trial, Adam Yedidia, his former MIT roommate and software developer at FTX, testified against him. Yedidia had created a fiat onramp system for easy deposits to FTX, but funds were forwarded to an Alameda Research subsidiary, causing a software bug that inflated FTX’s debt by an additional $8 billion. Bankman-Fried appeared indifferent when informed of the issue, leading to Yedidia’s resignation. Yedidia has been granted immunity as a witness in the trial.
If found guilty, SBF could face a lengthy prison sentence.