Tracing funds is highly challenging, according to the FTX Debtors’ second interim report, and there is no doubt that that was by design.
FTX has recovered about $7 billion in liquid assets so far, and the search for additional assets is continuing, CEO John Ray said in the FTX Debtors’ second interim report, released June 26. The extensive commingling of funds complicates their efforts, however.
The FTX Debtors, made up of FTX and affiliates, currently estimate the amount of customer assets misappropriated at $8.7 billion. Most of that money, about $6.4 billion, was in fiat and stablecoins, which FTX did not differentiate between in its accounting.
FTX debtor have filed the second interim report pic.twitter.com/aEafxFTnLu— Sunil (FTX 2.0 Champion) (@sunil_trades) June 26, 2023
The former FTX leadership “did not commingle and misuse customer deposits by accident,” the report alleged, and leadership hid its actions “with the assistance of a senior FTX Group attorney” and others. As a result:
“Notwithstanding extensive work by experts in forensic accounting, asset tracing and recovery, and blockchain analytics, among other areas, it is extremely challenging to trace substantial assets of the Debtors to any particular source of funding, or to differentiate between the FTX Group’s operating funds and deposits made by its customers.”
The extent of the chaos was driven home by a diagram of flows of FTX customer money out of primary deposit accounts “as identified to date.” Those flows were made possible by misrepresenting their purpose to banks and many other false representations, the report said.
The misrepresentation even extended to statements former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) made to the United States Congress. The involvement of the unidentified FTX senior attorney was mentioned repeatedly, and it was noted that the attorney fired a less senior attorney who raised objections to the company’s deceptive practices. Misappropriated funds were used for political and charitable donations and the company’s investments and acquisitions, such as luxury real estate, the report alleged.
“The FTX Senior Executives [SBF, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh] and [Alameda Research CEO Caroline] Ellison informally tracked the size of FTX.com’s undisclosed, fiat currency liability to customers that resulted from the extensive commingling and misuse of FTX.com customer deposits,” the report said. Their estimates ranged from $8.9 billion to $10 billion, which is somewhat higher than the FTX Debtors’ estimate.