SBF borrowed $546M from Alameda to fund Robinhood share purchase

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, borrowed over $546 million from the exchange’s sister firm Alameda Research to fund his purchase of Robinhood shares.

Those same shares were later used by Bankman-Fried as collateral for a loan taken by Alameda from BlockFi, one of the entities that are laying claim to the shares.

An affidavit by Bankman-Fried filed in the Antigua and Barbuda High Court on Dec. 12 — the day of his arrest — and made public on Dec. 27, revealed he and FTX co-founder Zixiao “Gary” Wang took out the loans from Alameda through four promissory notes between April and May 2022.

On Apr. 30 loans of around $316.6 million and $35.1 million were given to Bankman-Fried and Wang respectively. Later, two loans of around $175 million and $19.4 million were given to Bankman-Fried on May. 15.

The loans were used to fund Bankman-Fried’s Antiguan-based shell company Emergent Fidelity Technologies Ltd. which acquired a 7.6% stake in brokerage firm Robinhood in May at a price of $648 million at the time.

He added that if the sum paid by Emergent for the shares was more than the stated $546 million he has “not [sic] doubt that such additional sum was borrowed by Gary and I” to fund the acquisition of the Robinhood shares.

The revelation of the loans could complicate the ongoing legal tug of war for the over 56 million shares in Robinhood that are now worth around $430 million.

Embattled crypto lender BlockFi is suing Bankman-Fried’s Emergent for the Robinhood shares that were allegedly pledged as collateral for BlockFi’s loans to Alameda on Nov. 9.

Related: Crypto OTC trading to get traction due to FTX fiasco, exec says

FTX stepped in on Dec. 23, asking for assistance from a U.S. bankruptcy judge to prevent BlockFi from claiming the shares. It said the shares are owned by Alameda and insisted FTX companies should keep the Robinhood stake while investigations continue into other claims of their ownership.

Additionally, Bankman-Fried and FTX creditor Yonathan Ben Shimon are laying claim to the shares.

Previously, FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings in the United States revealed Bankman-Fried was on the receiving end of a $1 billion personal loan from Alameda.

Former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison said on Dec. 23 as part of her plea deal that “Alameda was borrowing funds that FTX’s customers had deposited onto the exchange.”

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