Bahamas seizes digital assets worth over $3.5 billion from collapsed crypto exchange FTX
The regulator explained that the cryptocurrencies were transferred to its wallets “for safekeeping” and “are being held by the Commission on a temporary basis.
The Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) said Thursday that it has obtained a court order to transfer the digital assets owned by, or under the custody or control of, FTX Digital Markets Ltd. (FTXDM) to its secure wallets. The Bahamian division of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX Trading Ltd., which owned and ran the cryptocurrency trading website FTX.com, is called FTX Digital Markets.
The regulator wrote that on Nov. 12, “The Commission … took the action of directing the transfer of all digital assets under the custody or control of FTXDM or its principals, valued at more than US$3.5 billion, based on market pricing at the time of transfer, to digital wallets controlled by the Commission, for safekeeping.”
The Commission added that it is exercising “its powers as regulator acting under the authority of an order made by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas.” The regulator emphasized that the procedure “did not involve the creation of any additional tokens.”
The seized cryptocurrencies “are being held by the Commission on a temporary basis, until such time as the Bahamas Supreme Court directs the Commission to deliver them to the customers and creditors who own them, or to the JPLs [Joint Provisional Liquidators] to be administered under rules governing the insolvency estate for the benefit of the customers and creditors of FTXDM,” the regulator clarified.
The Securities Commission noted that the seizure was conducted “under a sealing order requested by the Commission and granted by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas” on Nov. 16. The regulator reiterated that contrary to some media reports, “The Commission did not in any way direct, authorize, or suggest to FTXDM the prioritization of withdrawals for Bahamian clients.”
On November 11, FTX declared bankruptcy, causing an estimated million customers and investors to lose billions of dollars. Multiple fraud charges have been brought against the cryptocurrency firm and Bankman-Fried by the American government and regulators. The former CEO of FTX was detained in the Bahamas and returned to the United States last week. He is currently incarcerated at his parents’ Palo Alto home under a $250 million bond.
The Securities Commission of the Bahamas claimed on Friday that it is holding $3.5 billion worth of FTX assets, but FTX refuted this assertion. According to FTX, the cryptocurrency was worth about $296 million at the time of the transfer.