STATESIDE: The Bahamas makes front page news after FTX collapse

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.


A FRIEND and Bahamaphile was unhappy on Monday morning. “Did you see the headline on the front page of the Washington Post?” she exclaimed. “The Bahamas was mentioned in a near-banner headline, front page, top of the fold, the first thing a reader saw that day. And guess why? The Post sent a reporter down to Nassau to investigate the collapse of this now-bankrupt cryptocurrency firm FTX that had set up its headquarters out west in Albany.

“When are we going to see headlines mentioning The Bahamas that don’t involve Peter Nygard or Anna Nicole Smith or even Adam Clayton Powell? And now we have Sam Bankman-Fried and this FTX scandal that puts The Bahamas in a bad light again. I’m sick of it!” she declared.

The widening scandal has obviously generated a lot of interest in Nassau too, and controversy. Some of the tumult involves a public exchange this week between the new CEO of FTX, John Ray III, and Bahamian Attorney General Ryan Pinder.

“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information,” said Ray, who also once oversaw the liquidation of Enron, the Houston energy holding company that has been described as “one of America’s most infamous corporate frauds.” Ray was reportedly hired to “clean up the mess at FTX.”

Ray described Bankman-Fried and his executive team as a “very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals in The Bahamas who had spent lavishly on themselves while failing to track where billions of clients’ dollars were sent or stored.”

In US court filings last week, Ray said there was “credible evidence that the Bahamian government is responsible for directing unauthorized access to the debtors’ systems for the purpose of obtaining digital assets of the debtors – that took place after the commencement of these (legal bankruptcy) cases.”

Ray’s remarks elicited a robust response from the AG. “We have been able to assert our leadership in this new field because in the digital assets arena, what matters is not the size of your land mass, or the size of your GDP, but the ingenuity and rigor of your people and jurisdiction,” Pinder said in the Tribune.

“Those entrepreneurs who are ready to create new financial products that serve a broader range of consumers, remain welcome to come to The Bahamas. They can be certain that we have in place a principled, fair, comprehensive and ethical regulatory regime. They can also be certain we will act quickly and decisively to enforce it, if and when our laws and regulations are breached. They will see that The Bahamas is a place of laws.”

In its front-page story, the Post reported that “in the Bahamas, many are anxiously waiting to see how the fallout from this corporate collapse will shape their lives.

At a gate that workers use to enter Albany, the closely guarded enclave where Bankman-Fried and his top deputies shared a $40 million waterfront penthouse, one construction worker told a reporter on a recent morning that, if Bankman- Fried were still inside, ‘we would grab him and bring him out.’”

The Post glibly described The Bahamas as “a former British colony comprising hundreds of islands 45 minutes from the Florida coast that for decades has been a darling of American tourists for its scenic beaches — and of offshore financial engineers and money launderers for its minimal taxes and corporate disclosure rules.”

No wonder my friend was upset. “At least they mentioned the beaches,” she sighed.


themessenger 1 year, 5 months ago

The Post is actually not too far off the mark as there is no denying that over the last fifty years we have degenerated into a nation of beggars and thieves, and the race to the bottom continues apace.


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