The Bahamas’ regulator claims to have seized $3.5 billion in FTX crypto assets for’safekeeping’

Bahamas Securities Commission
Bahamas Securities Commission

The Bahamas Securities Commission says it seized $3.5 billion in cryptocurrency from the defunct crypto exchange FTX.

The watchdog confirmed the total amount taken from FTX’s Bahamian subsidiary, FTX Digital Markets, in a late Thursday media release, adding that the funds were move into its own digital wallets “for safekeeping.”

The regulator had last confirm that it held some of FTX’s digital assets, but had not specified how much.

According to the commission, the funds were value at more than $3.5 billion base on market pricing at the time of transfer.

The funds are being hold on a “temporary basis” by the Bahamas Securities Commission until they are directed to be delivered to customers and creditors, or liquidators of the insolvency estate, by the Bahamas Supreme Court.

The regulator stated that it took the funds after receiving information from FTX’s disgraced co-founder, SamBankman-Fried, about cyberattacks on the systems of FTX’s Bahamian unit.

The assets under FTX Digital Markets’ control were at “significant risk of imminent dissipation,” it said.

After declaring bankruptcy, FTX was the target of a suspected hack that resulted in the loss of $477 million from the firm’s crypto wallets. The perpetrator’s identity is still unknown.

Bahamas Securities Commission; image from The Guardian

The Bahamas’ regulator has been scrutinised for its role in the FTX collapse and subsequent financial crisis.

The commission desired to handle FTX’s insolvency proceedings in the Bahamas. However, FTX’s lawyers in the United States challenged the move, alleging in a Nov. 17 filing that the controllercollaborated with Bankman-Fried to gain “unauthorised access” to FTX systems in order to transfer digital assets to its own custody.

The Bahamian regulator responded by saying that the claims were “inaccurate,” and that the decision to move the funds was made to protect the interests of clients and investors.

Bankman-Fried, 30, was arrested in the Bahamas and extradited to the US, where he is awaiting trial on charges of fraud, collaboration to commit money laundering, collaboration to defraud the United States, and conspiracy to violate movement finance laws.

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