The SBF Scandal: The Players and the Money
From the Brownstone Institute
The complexities of the FTX scandal with Sam Bankman-Fried at the helm boggles the mind. Unlike the Madoff scandal, which was incredibly simple, the funding, influence, and political networks sounding the $32 billion collapse of FTX is byzantine by design.
Just have a look at the org chart of the company to get a sense. It’s all the better for avoiding oversight.
What we really need in the months or even years in which it will take to sort all of this out is some kind of key to the major players. What follows is a list which we’ve put together in order of network importance for easy reference. This small effort is made necessary because there seems to be very little attention being given to the entire SBF empire, both in terms of the players with whom he worked and where the money ended up.
It’s nowhere near being a guide to the fullness of the networks of funding and influence, and can only begin to hint at the real story of what was really behind this magic bean factory in the Bahamas. Their operations and networks are deliberately obscure and fan out over many countries, institutions, and individuals. There is a strange silence in the air about the details other than the general observation that Sam Bankman-Fried was up to no good.
And yet there were obviously many people involved. It’s probable that the main point was to fund political causes in a way that gets around federal election law, as the indictment suggests in count eight. However, a close examination of the networks keeps coming back to the strange theme of pandemic planning and support for various methods of controlling the population in the name of controlling infectious disease. Aside from political donations, this was a central concern. What that has to do with a crypto exchange is another matter.
All of which should raise a question given the time of the life of FTX (2019-2022): to what extent was the network surrounding this institution useful in providing back-channel funding support for (and lack of opposition to) the most unprecedented attack on human liberty in our lifetimes? This question applies to both the direct political contributions and the various other donations to institutions and individuals.
Corrections to this list are welcome.
Sam Bankman-Fried: Went to MIT, worked for Centre for Effective Altruism (fundraising 2017) and started Alameda Research in November 2017, and then the crypto trading company FTX two years later, which he ran until 2022 when it all collapsed after becoming the second-largest donor to Democrats ($38M).
Barbara Helen Fried: mother of Sam, Harvard Law graduate, professor at Stanford University, booster of Effective Altruism, and founder of Mind the Gap, a secretive political action committee in Silicon Valley.
Alan Joseph Bankman: father of Sam, Yale Law graduate and later clinical psychologist, law professor at Stanford, and author and expert on tax law.
Linda Fried: Sam’s aunt on his mother’s side and Dean of School of Public Health at Columbia University and on the board of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Aging.
Gabriel Bankman-Fried: Sam’s brother who ran Guarding Against Pandemics, a lobbying organization supporting “pandemic planning” also known as lockdowns and vaccine mandates. It has a Capitol Hill headquarters that cost $3.3 million. He previously served on a Congressional staff.
Caroline Ellison: Schooled at Stanford, she is daughter of Glenn Ellison and Sara Fisher Ellison, both professors at MIT. She became CEO of Sam’s Alameda Research and reported girlfriend of Sam’s.
Sara Fisher Ellison and Glenn Ellison: Caroline’s mother is professor of economics at MIT with a research specialization in the pharmaceutical industry while her father has written at least four papers on epidemiological modeling.
Nishad Singh: former MIT roommate of Sam’s who is said to have built the FTX platform. He seems to have left the Bahamas for India.
Zixiao “Gary” Wang: Co-founder with Sam of FTX and Alameda. He graduated from MIT and worked for Google. Beyond that hardly anything is known about him. He seems to have left the Bahamas and is reported to be in Hong Kong.
Ryan Salame: Graduate of UMass-Amherst and head of FTX Digital Markets, plus proprietor of R Salame Digital Asset Fund through the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, allegedly for charitable purposes.
William David MacAskill: real name Crouch, William is an author and philosopher and founder of the Centre for Effective Altruism and a close colleague of Sam’s. He served on the board of FTX Future Fund until it collapsed. He is a media personality who gives TED talks and is a leader purveyor of the view that one should get very rich and give it away.
Funded Institutions and Individuals (some taken from here)
Together Trial: This elaborate trial of therapeutics ended up inveighing against Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine and was generously funded by FTX. But that has been scrubbed from the public website. This is a continuing problem.
Moncef Slaoui: The head of Operation Warp Speed, he received $150,000 from FTX to write SBF’s autobiography, according to a Washington Post investigation.
HelixNano: A vaccine company that claims to be developing mutation-resistant vaccines, which received $10M in funding from FTX Future Fund, according to a Washington Post investigation.
Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security: This institution ran the Event 201 lockdown tabletop exercise in 2019, and received at least $175,000 for a single employee, from FTX coffers. We don’t know the full extent but it was enough for the head of the Center to defend Sam and FTX in public. Nor do we know Alameda Research’s funding reach of this institution.
Guarding Against Pandemics: Run by Sam’s brother Gabriel, this 501c4 gave at least $1M to campaigns in 2022. We do not know how much money Alameda/FTX funneled to this institution. Sam fequently recommend it as a target for charitable giving.
Protect Our Future: run by the two brothers, this PAC gave $28M to candidates in the 2022 cycle. We do not know how much Alameda/FTX gave.
Center for Innovation in Global Health, Stanford University: FTX and its network gave $1.5M to the institution.
ProPublica: A grant of $5M from FTX Future Fund. Other reports say $27 million.
Centre for Effective Altruism: FTX Future fund gift of $14M
Effective Ideas Blog: It promised to pay $1K to good blogs, and its Twitter frequently links to other institutions and individuals in the FTX network. Funded by Future Fund: $900K
Piezo Therapeutics: “Work on technology for delivering mRNA vaccines without lipid nanoparticles with the aim of making vaccines more safe, affordable, and scalable.” FTX gave $1M
Council on Strategic Risks: “a project which will develop and advance ideas for strengthening regional and multilateral cooperation for addressing biological risks.” $400K from FTX
AVECRIS Pte. Ltd: “support the development of a next-generation genetic vaccine platform that aims to allow for highly distributed vaccine production using AVECRIS’s advanced DNA vector delivery technology.” $3.6M from FTX
University of Ottawa: “a project to develop new plastic surfaces incorporating molecules that can be activated with low-energy visible light to eradicate bacteria and kill viruses continuously.” FTX gave $250K
1Day Sooner: “work on pandemic preparedness, including advocacy for advance market purchase commitments, collaboration with the UK Pandemic Ethics Accelerator.” FTX gave $300K.
SAGE: “creation of a pilot version of a forecasting platform, and a paid forecasting team, to make predictions about questions relevant to high-impact research.” FTX gave $700K
Longview: “global priorities research, nuclear weapons policy, and other longtermist issues.” Advisor: William MacAskill. FTX gave $15M
Confirm Solutions: “support development of statistical models and software tools that can automate parts of the regulatory process for complex clinical trials.” FTX gave $1M
Lightcone Infrastructure: “ongoing projects including running the LessWrong forum, hosting conferences and events, and maintaining an office space for Effective Altruist organizations.” FTX gave $2M
Rational Animations: “the creation of animated videos on topics related to rationality and effective altruism to explain these topics for a broader audience.” FTX gift: $400K
Giving What We Can: “to create a world in which giving effectively and significantly is a cultural norm.” FTX gift: $700,000
The Atlas Fellowship: scholarships for talented and promising high school students to use towards educational opportunities and enrolling in a summer program. FTX gift: $5M
Constellation: “support 18 months of operations for a longtermist coworking space in Berkeley.” FIX coughed up $3.9M
Longview Philanthropy: “creating a longtermist coworking office in London.” FTX committed $2.9M
Long Term Future Fund: “longtermist grantmaking.” FTX committed $3.9M
OurWorldinData: graphs and charts portal. FTX committed $7.5M
Institute for Progress: “research and policy engagement work on high-skilled immigration, biosecurity, and pandemic prevention.” FTX was in for $480K. Additional support came from Emergent Ventures, which was modeled on Fast Grants that funded Neil Ferguson’s pandemic modeling at Imperial College London, which seems to have an entangled relationship with the SFB empire, one yet to be fully disclosed.
What is listed above only scratches the surface of the admitted $160 million given out, but the promise had been for fully $1 billion to go to various nonprofits in this network that seems to be supported or even founded in order to receive money from FTX-connected institutions.
We could only list some of the names and a fraction of the dollar amounts. There are many other institutions and names that could be part of this list but we lacked enough documentation to verify for this article. There is still the task of listing all political campaigns that were in receipt of the money as well as the public-relations boosters of the whole effort.
Building off the success of Bill Gates, Sam Bankman-Fried, and his many associates, clearly saw philanthropy as the path to influence, power, and protection. At the same time, many nonprofit organizations saw an opportunity too; to build their own empires through promised millions and billions from a crypto genius in the Bahamas who had an unusual passion for pandemic planning.
For three years, many of us have wondered how it came to be that the critics of lockdowns and mandates were so few and far between. There are surely many explanations but, as usual, it helps fill in the dots to follow the money.
Minister reviewing CBC’s mandate with eye to making it less reliant on advertising
Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is hinting that the Liberal government’s online news bill could help the public broadcaster less reliant on advertising dollars. Rodriguez leaves a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 2, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez is hinting that the Liberal government’s online news bill could help the national public broadcaster become less reliant on advertising dollars.
Rodriguez says he has begun reviewing CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate, including ways the government can provide more funds to the public broadcaster.
Rodriguez’s mandate letter from the prime minister says the goal in providing more money is to eliminate advertising during news and other public affairs shows.
During a House of Commons heritage committee meeting today, Rodriguez says the the CBC will financially benefit from passage of the online news act, also known as C-18.
The bill, being studied in the Senate, would require tech giants to pay Canadian media companies for linking to or otherwise repurposing their content online.
The parliamentary budget officer released a report last year that shows news businesses are expected to receive over $300 million annually from digital platforms when the online news bill becomes law.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.
Bell CEO warns ‘interventionist’ regulations could lead telcos to curtail investments
Mirko Bibic, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada speaks during a CRTC hearing for Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-57, Review of mobile wireless services, in Gatineau, Que., on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
By Sammy Hudes in Toronto
Bell Canada president and CEO Mirko Bibic warned Monday that increased regulation in Canada’s telecommunications industry could prompt companies to scale back investment and make cuts to service for underserved communities.
Speaking at a lunch hosted by Canadian Club Toronto, Bibic took aim at the federal government and Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission for a shift “towards more micromanagement of Canada’s telecom industry.”
He said some investments are “impossible to justify” when big companies are required to provide smaller competitors access to their privately built networks at heavily discounted rates.
“Our industry is quite highly regulated and we appear to be moving rapidly towards even more intervention,” said Bibic, adding that such an approach “generates market uncertainty.”
“Our regulator’s telling us that we have to give access to the new networks that our people, our partners and our capital are building and they’re telling us the rates we have to charge for that access. That’s not how a competitive market should be regulated. [It] certainly doesn’t strengthen the quality or resiliency of the networks and services you all rely on.”
Earlier this year, Canada’s telecommunications regulator announced it would lower some wholesale internet rates by 10 per cent and review whether big companies should provide smaller competitors access to their fibre-to-the-home networks.
The CRTC said the move was aimed at improving internet speeds and bolstering competition.
That came after federal Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne directed the regulator to implement new rules to enhance consumer rights, affordability, competition and universal access, which included a requirement for improved wholesale internet rates.
The CRTC also stated earlier this month that major telecoms would have 90 days to negotiate access agreements for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). That followed a policy set in 2021 allowing regional cellphone providers to compete as MVNOs across Canada using networks built by large companies.
But Bibic urged Ottawa and the CRTC to ensure Canada’s four major telecom companies have incentives to invest and differentiate themselves from each other, which he said would lead to more customer value. He warned of “unintended consequences” if regulation continues to ramp up.
“There comes a point where if government is too interventionist, all of us are going to have to scale back those investments, which is not good for consumers and businesses,” he said.
“If you’ve got to start cutting back on capital, what gets cut first? Does the GTA get cut first? Or does some northern community in Ontario get cut first? We know the answer to that.”
Bibic also pushed back against a “prevailing but false narrative” surrounding the state of competition in Canada’s telecom industry, as well as cellphone and internet prices.
A report released in February by Wall Communications Inc., which conducts an annual comparison of Canadian phone and internet prices to other jurisdictions, found Canada still had among the highest prices internationally for cellphone and broadband service in 2022.
But Bibic noted that despite rising inflation, wireless prices in Canada have declined eight per cent over the past two years and almost 25 per cent since January 2020.
“We’ve all been in the U.S. right? The service is terrible. So there is a quality dimension to it,” he told the crowd.
“Too often, the prevailing narrative is based on these studies that by definition create these average baskets of goods so that there’s some semblance of trying to compare prices across the world, but the baskets of goods don’t actually reflect what people are buying today.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.
Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE)
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