The Securities Commission of the Bahamas on Nov. 12 transferred FTX Digital Markets’ assets to a digital wallet it controls, the regulator said on Twitter Nov. 17, further complicating a legal struggle between the company and disgraced former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried.
The Bahamian regulator, in a 7 p.m. press release, said it, “took the action of directing the transfer of all digital assets of FTX Digital Markets to a digital wallet controlled by the Commission,” on Nov. 12. Assets began mysteriously moving out of FTX accounts late on Nov. 11, with the company itself appearing unsure of what was going on. “Urgent interim regulatory action was necessary to protect the interests of clients and creditors of [FTX DM],” the Securities Commission’s release continues.
FTX DM filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection — a relief available to companies that operate mainly outside the U.S. — on Nov. 15 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. FTX, Alameda, and more than 100 related entities sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11 in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.
But in a filing today, FTX’s lawyers called the Chapter 15 filing — and the choice of the Southern District of New York —”distressing” while a Chapter 11 case unfolds in Delaware.
“The filing of the Chapter 15 Case without advance notice and in the SDNY is a blatant attempt to avoid the supervision of this Court and to keep FTX DM isolated from the administration of the rest of the Debtors, which constitute the vast majority of the remainder of the FTX group,” FTX’s filing said. “Under normal circumstances, that would be inappropriate and grounds for transfer to this Court. But these are not normal circumstances.”
According to bankruptcy attorneys hired by the embattled company last week, Bankman-Fried is attempting to hamstring the U.S. Chapter 11 case by tying assets up in the Bahamas. “Mr. Bankman-Fried, the co-founder, and controlling owner of all of the Debtors and of FTX DM, appears to be supporting efforts … to expand the scope of the FTX DM proceeding in the Bahamas, to undermine these Chapter 11 Cases, and to move assets from the Debtors to accounts in the Bahamas under the control of the Bahamian government,” the filing said.
The Bahamas’ securities regulator shrugged off these concerns in its statement. “It is not the understanding of the Commission that [FTX DM] is a party to the U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings,” the Securities Commission said.
“The Commission will engage with other regulators and authorities, in multiple jurisdictions, to address matters affecting the creditors, clients and shareholders of [FTX DM] globally to obtain the best possible outcome.”