(Bloomberg) -- FTX Chief Executive and Restructuring Officer John J. Ray, whose team is overseeing a mammoth asset recovery task after the crypto exchange’s collapse, is accelerating efforts to recoup billion of dollars just weeks before FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried heads to trial for what has been called one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.
The week started off in bankruptcy court, where FTX sued Bankman-Fried’s parents on Monday to “recover millions of dollars in fraudulently transferred and misappropriated funds.” The lawsuit claims that Allan Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried exploited their access and influence within FTX to “enrich themselves, directly and indirectly, by millions of dollars,” at the expense of the debtors and creditors.
Read More: FTX Sues Sam Bankman-Fried’s Parents to Claw Back Funds
On Thursday, FTX Trading Ltd. sued four former employees of Salameda Ltd., a Hong Kong-incorporated affiliate of FTX, to recoup $153 million of transfers that they received just before the crypto trading platform collapsed. The former employees used their personal connections to prioritize withdrawals of their funds and digital assets from FTX once it became clear last November that the company was in trouble, according to a complaint filed in the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Read More: FTX Sues Ex-Employees, Targeting Withdrawals Worth $153 Million
Outside investors and speculators are trying to get a piece of the bankruptcy pie as well. Silver Point Capital, Diameter Capital Partners and Attestor Capital are some of the top distressed-debt investors buying cheap FTX claims, as they are betting that the company’s lengthy bankruptcy process will uncover additional valuable assets. They have bought more than $250 million worth of FTX debts since the beginning of the year, according to a Bloomberg analysis of court records.
Read More: Silver Point, Diameter Buying Cheap FTX Claims in Lehman Redux
However, not all the money that FTX is attempting to recoup is a result of legal action. Some funds are being returned voluntarily. On the heels of Monday’s news, Stanford University, where Bankman and Fried taught and are renowned legal scholars, announced its plans to return millions of dollars it received from FTX and related entities. Stanford received gifts totaling some $5.5 million from FTX-related entities from November 2021 to May 2022, according to court documents.
Read More: Stanford Will Return ‘Entirety’ of Gifts Received From FTX
Meanwhile, in a Manhattan federal appeals court on Thursday, Bankman-Fried’s request to be released from jail ahead of his Oct. 3 trial was denied. The decision came hours after he lost a separate ruling that blocked him from calling expert witnesses for his defense, making it the latest in a series of setbacks ahead of his trial. Bankman-Fried has denied the allegations that he defrauded investors while enriching himself.
Read More: Sam Bankman-Fried Jail Release Bid Denied by Appeals Court
Ray is a turnaround and restructuring expert who previously served senior roles in bankruptcies including Enron Corp. When the energy company went bankrupt in 2001, Ray successfully recovered more than $828 million for creditors.
Not everyone is appreciative of Ray’s efforts. While responding to the lawsuit, Bankman and Fried called the claims false. And in a statement from their attorneys, said “Mr. Ray and his massive team of lawyers, who are collectively running up countless millions of dollars in fees while returning relatively little to FTX clients, know better.”
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