White House meetings with Sam Bankman-Fried ‘focused on pandemic prevention’

Sam Bankman-Fried - 111122
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX U.S. Derivatives. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

White House meetings with Sam Bankman-Fried ‘focused on pandemic prevention’

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FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s meetings with top advisers to President Joe Biden “focused on pandemic prevention-related matters,” according to the White House.

Biden’s press secretary said Bankman-Fried also discussed “general information” on the cryptocurrency industry and crypto exchanges while meeting with counselor to the president Steve Ricchetti and deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed, longtime Biden confidantes, in the months before FTX’s implosion.

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White House visitor logs show his most recent visit took place in September, about two months before the exchange collapsed. The Justice Department has charged Bankman-Fried with attempting to defraud investors of $1.8 billion.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the meetings were part of the administration’s routine engagement “with officials from a range of sectors and industries, including leaders in business and labor and nonprofits,” and that it “has been clear about the need for Congress to take action when we talk about addressing cryptocurrency.”

Jean-Pierre declined to comment on whether the Democratic Party or aligned groups should consider returning donations Bankman-Fried made.

Bankman-Fried gave lavishly to Democrats during the midterm elections and contributed to Biden’s 2020 campaign. He was tipped as a prominent future political megadonor for the Democratic Party.

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He also funded a non-profit aimed at pandemic prevention and operated by his brother, another visitor to the White House, the logs show.

The former crypto billionaire pleaded not guilty to U.S. criminal charges Tuesday.

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