Bill Ackman, a billionaire, attacked the $250 million bond deal that permitted disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to reside with his parents in the Bay Area while awaiting his federal fraud trial.
The New York hedge fund manager, whose net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $3.5 billion due to his ownership of Pershing Square Capital Management, tweeted that the bond deal is evidence of Bankman-guilt Fried’s because it contradicts his previous statements that he had no money.
Ackman tweeted on Thursday, “I want to believe the best in people instinctively.” “My strong confidence that a person is innocent until proven guilty puts me at risk of trusting a criminal.”
Ackman argued that Bankman-posting Fried’s of $250 million bail is a criminal indictment and rebuttal of everything he has said to date.
I want to believe the best in people instinctively. Combined with my deep belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty, I am susceptible to trusting a crook. The fact that @SBF FTX posted $250 million bond is a criminal indictment and a denial of all he has claimed to date. https://t.co/saVUvyTpqX
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 22, 2022
In a subsequent tweet, Ackman stated, “I have just reviewed the conditions of the bail agreement.”
Ackman tweeted, “The best one can say is that he has affluent family and friends who trust in him, but with the guilty pleas and cooperation from his two coworkers, things are not looking bright for @SBF FTX.”
Ackman was referencing the guilty pleas of Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Bankman-hedge Fried’s fund Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, the co-founder of FTX, who are currently cooperating with federal prosecutors. They will likely submit evidence implicating Bankman-Fried in exchange for lighter sentences for their separate roles in FTX’s bankruptcy.
Sam Bankman-Fried, who faces numerous federal fraud accusations, was released into his parents’ custody until trial.
In a following tweet, Ackman compared Bankman-Fried to the convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff, a former stock market guru whose multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme wiped out the life savings of thousands of people.
Bankman-Fried, whose net worth was previously assessed at more than $26 billion at the height of the bitcoin boom, told Axios that he had just $100,000 in his bank account “last I checked” weeks after his company failed.
Bankman-Fried was released to the custody of his parents, Stanford law professors Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, in accordance with the terms of his bond.
It looks that @FTX Official was a legitimate, lucrative exchange founded by an MIT graduate with backing from leading venture capitalists and a large valuation. Why would @SBF FTX commit fraud in Alameda, detonate FTX, and risk a lifetime in prison? This brings to mind Madoff
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 23, 2022
According to the Associated Press, the personal recognizance bond that permitted Bankman-Fried, who allegedly defrauded investors out of billions and stole client accounts, to avoid jail while awaiting trial was guaranteed by equity in his parents’ home and their signatures.
The prosecutor who appeared in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday for the bond hearing, Nicolas Roos, also requested that Bankman-bond Fried’s be secured by the signatures of two other “financially responsible people with substantial assets.”
This means that if Bankman-Fried were to depart before or after his January 3 court hearing, his parents and the other two individuals would owe the federal government $250 million.
Bankman-Fried, 30 years old, was obliged to forfeit his passport and wear an ankle bracelet.
According to the terms of his bond, which were reportedly negotiated when Bankman-Fried withdrew his opposition to extradition to the United States, the ex-mogul was compelled to give his passport and wear an ankle bracelet that would allow officials to follow his movements.
His bail conditions also prohibit him from opening new credit lines, starting a business, or engaging in financial transactions greater than $1,000 without government or court clearance.
Ackman received criticism on social media earlier this month when he tweeted on November 30 that he believed Bankman-Fried was “speaking the truth” when he denied knowingly committing fraud.
Ackman stated that the bond transaction is “in and of itself a criminal indictment” that “disputes” Bankman-previous Fried’s assertions of being bankrupt.
Ackman responded to one of the numerous interviews that Bankman-Fried provided after the collapse of FTX, including his illustrious conversation with Andrew Ross Sorkin at The New York Times DealBook Summit.
In response to considerable criticism, the billionaire manager of a hedge fund sought to clarify his position.
“I attended the @andrewrsorkin interview with @SBF FTX and tweeted that I thought SBF credible,” tweeted Ackman on December 3.
If he is stating the truth, he may be subject to civil culpability rather than criminal liability. I understand why the victims in this case want him to face the harshest possible punishment, including imprisonment. I would likely experience the same emotions if I were a victim.
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 3, 2022
“Many have misconstrued my post as me defending SBF or supporting him in any way. The opposite could not be further from the truth.”
Ackman stated, “The @FTX Official debacle is, at a minimum, the most egregious, large-scale case of business gross negligence I have witnessed in my career, and SBF’s recent public pronouncements support this view.”
If he is telling the truth, it is more likely that he has civil liability as opposed to criminal liability.
Ackman wrote, “I understand why the victims here want him to face the most severe repercussions, including jail time.” If I was also a victim, I would likely feel the same.