Former President Clinton is remaining silent on his paid attendance at a posh Bahamas event alongside disgraced crypto boss Sam Bankman-Fried just months before his company, FTX, collapsed, which lost investors billions of dollars.
Fox Business reached out to Clinton’s spokesperson and office seeking comment on his participation at the April 2022 Crypto Bahamas retreat hosted by FTX, Bankman-Fried’s now-bankrupt crypto exchange. Neither provided a response on his attendance by the time of publication.
Clinton received compensation for participating in a panel alongside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the crypto retreat, which Bankman-Fried moderated. Clinton’s comments were off the record, but a leaked recording reportedly showed that he advocated for a “do no harm” approach to regulating cryptocurrency, according to industry outlet Trust Nodes.
The former president also said there was a “temptation to abuse” digital currencies but praised the emerging technology as “obviously serious” in his remarks, Politico previously reported.
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“You want to do right by it in the regulatory space,” he reportedly said at the event, referencing his administration’s efforts to deregulate financial markets in the 1990s.
The April conference was an exclusive gathering for the upper echelon of crypto investors, celebrities and world leaders. Musician Katy Perry, actor Orlando Bloom, NFL quarterback Tom Brady and his then-wife Giselle Bündchen attended the event. DJ Steve Aoki and former One Direction singer Liam Payne provided entertainment for the attendees, who paid upwards of $3,000 for tickets.
FTX hosted the event in partnership with the SALT thought leadership forum, which was founded by Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as White House communications director for former President Trump.
Clinton joined a long list of Democrats who had cozied up to Bankman-Fried or took his political cash before his downfall. Bankman-Fried poured $38 million into the 2022 elections – money that primarily benefited Democratic candidates – and was the second-biggest donor, just behind financier George Soros.
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Bankman-Fried’s family has also been tightly-knit with Democratic politics for the better part of a decade.
The FTX CEO’s family — parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, and brother Gabe Bankman-Fried — has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and actively worked with left-wing organizations.
“We’re ambitious and looking to make a splash,” Gabe Bankman-Fried said in an interview with NBC News in May.
Gabe Bankman-Fried has donated more than $361,000 to mainly Democratic campaigns and causes over the last several years. He founded the group Guarding Against Pandemics, which researches and endorses candidates who often received cash from a super PAC that Sam Bankman-Fried heavily financed.
Gabe Bankman-Fried also previously worked at Democratic data firm Civis Analytics, which was “born” out of former President Obama’s campaign and positioned itself as a significant player among liberal super PACs and committees.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents, likewise, had involvement with Democratic groups and lawmakers. The pair have combined to pour nearly $200,000 to mainly Democrats, Federal Election Commission records show.
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Barbara Fried earlier this week resigned from Mind the Gap, a secretive organization that has funneled massive sums of money to Democratic campaigns. The group received funding from Silicon Valley tycoons including Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Alphabet; Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder of Facebook; Allen Blue, the co-founder of LinkedIn; and Jeff Horing, the co-founder of top venture capital firm Insight Partners.
Joseph Bankman was involved in an effort spearheaded by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to draft tax legislation. He then led a group of legal and economic scholars endorsing the bill.
Following Sam Bankman-Fried’s resignation from his company, his successor John Ray III — the attorney who oversaw the $23 billion bankruptcy of energy firm Enron — accused the former CEO of permitting “a complete failure of corporate controls.”
“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” Ray said in a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
“From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented,” Ray said.
The House of Representatives will hold hearings in December to probe FTX’s collapse and “the broader consequences for the digital asset ecosystem.”
Fox Business’ Chris Pandolfo, Megan Henney and Thomas Catenacci contributed reporting.