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FTX sues over investments, donations made by charity arm to life sciences companies

FTX’s efforts to claw back customer funds are continuing. Alameda Research and FTX filed suit on July 19 seeking the return of $71.6 million in allegedly commingled corporate and customer funds related to investments and donations to life sciences companies.

The defendants in the suit are six life sciences companies, the FTX Foundation philanthropical organization, the Latona Biosciences Group “sham” nonprofit, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX Foundation head Nicholas Beckstead and Latona head Ross Rheingans-Yoo.

The suit claims that the FTX Foundation and Latona donated or invested funds in six life sciences companies for the personal benefit of Bankman-Fried and Rheingans-Yoo and without any benefit to Alameda Research or FTX. At issue are eight transfers from Alameda Research to the companies made between February 2022 and October 2022 on behalf of Latona.

The investments in the life sciences companies were allegedly made without due diligence or independent valuation. According to the suit:

“Each of these transfers was made with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud present or future creditors, a fact known by the FTX Foundation, Latona, and Bankman-Fried.”

“Bankman-Fried in fact pursued these transactions because he believed that doing so would generate goodwill and amass political capital and influence for himself,” the suit added.

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The suit includes four counts of fraudulent transfers, two counts of property recovery, an unjust enrichment charge against Latona, the disallowance of bankruptcy claims against the life sciences companies, breaches of fiduciary duty by Bankman-Fried and aiding and abetting in breaching fiduciary duty by Beckstead and Rheingans-Yoo.

The new FTX management has aggressively pursued misappropriated customer funds. Recovering charitable donations has proven to be a particularly complicated undertaking, as funds have gone to major universities, researchers and even students, as well as to quirkier recipients.

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