Is Sam Bankman-Fried Crazy?

If you haven’t heard, Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has been indicted for allegedly offering bribes up to $40 million to Chinese officials in exchange for their assistance in establishing a cryptocurrency office in Beijing. You’d think the guy had gone off the deep end.

How Did This Happen?

Apparently, Bankman-Fried enlisted the help of a Chinese national, Zhiwei Zheng, to carry out the alleged bribe scheme. It’s unclear if Zheng was in on the plan, but he did place three $5 million deposits into a Hong Kong bank account earlier this year. If convicted, Bankman-Fried could be looking at between 10-20 years in jail, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Whoops.

The Plot Thickens

It gets even more complicated. Reportedly, Bankman-Fried tried to disassociate from the deal by having Zheng send the bribe money from his own account. To add even more suspense to the drama, Bankman-Fried allegedly sent Zheng a text that read, “$5 million for each (government) official should do it”. Talk about incriminating.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Bankman-Fried has denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to fight the charges in court. However, if these accusations are true, he may want to start searching for the best lawyer in town.

In the meantime, here are some tips for anyone considering bribing government officials:

  • Don’t do it – under any circumstances.
  • Have a contingency plan – just in case.
  • Don’t leave a paper trail – this is especially important.
  • Don’t get your friends involved – they may not be as reliable as you think.
  • Make sure you understand the consequences – in this case, jail time.

All in all, it’s best to just stay away from bribery all together. Buying fancy things for government officials does not always guarantee favors. And in Bankman-Fried’s case, it might get you thrown in jail.