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恶行累累的FTX又添新罪,债务人报告内容触目惊心

WILL DANIEL
2023-04-16

虽然FTX集团的破产在一个新兴行业造成了规模空前的伤害,但该公司破产的许多根本原因并不陌生,例如傲慢、无能和贪婪等。

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2023年3月30日,FTX创始人山姆·班克曼-弗莱德离开位于纽约市的美国联邦法院。摄影:KYLE MAZZA —— ANADOLU AGENCY/盖蒂图片社

在对已破产的加密货币交易平台FTX的深入调查中,有一份最新报告曝光了对该公司的多项指控,包括高管用开玩笑的态度对待被遗忘的数百万美元资产,公司的文化会打压潜在问题的报告者,而且全然漠视正常会计原则。

周日,由现任CEO和首席重组官约翰·雷三世领头的FTX债务人,向美国特拉华州破产法院提交了一份39页的报告,详细披露了该交易平台及其交易子公司Alameda Research的困境。他们指控FTX受到由联合创始人兼前CEO山姆·班克曼-弗莱德掌控的一个高管团伙完全控制。这些高管没有执行恰当的会计、安全和管理实践,导致该公司的“加密货币资产和资金从一开始就面临风险”。

他们写道:“虽然FTX集团的破产在一个新兴行业造成了规模空前的伤害,但该公司破产的许多根本原因并不陌生,例如傲慢、无能和贪婪等。”

报告称,班克曼-弗莱德和其他高管,包括联合创始人加里·王和Alameda Research CEO卡洛琳·艾莉森,“打压不同意见,混合并滥用公司和客户的资金,向第三方谎报业务情况,并且将动辄遗忘数百万美元资产的情况在内部作为玩笑,最终导致飞速崛起的FTX集团迅速破产。”

班克曼-弗莱德层被认为是加密货币圈的金童。在他和曾经如日中天的交易平台破产之后,遭到了各种指控。2022年初,经过疫情期间加密货币价格暴涨之后,FTX的估值高达320亿美元,据媒体称班克曼-弗莱德本人的身家高达160亿美元。但不到一年后的11月,该公司爆发流动性危机,最终曝光其资产负债表存在70亿美元巨大缺口,之后该公司按照破产法第11章申请破产保护。

FTX破产很快引发了法律诉讼。去年12月,班克曼-弗莱德被巴哈马当局逮捕,但他至今对13项联邦指控拒不认罪,包括电信欺诈和共谋洗钱等一系列刑事指控。班克曼-弗莱德预计将在今年10月开始接受法庭审判,但加里·王和卡洛琳·艾莉森等高管以及前工程总监尼沙德·辛格都在去年承认了欺诈指控罪名。

现在,FTX的债务人表示,自FTX破产以来,他们已经收回了14亿美元数字资产,并确定了另外17亿美元可收回的资产。在这个过程中,他们还发现了许多幕后细节,曝光了班克曼·弗莱德如何经营他的加密货币帝国。他们表示,仍在“每天获得新消息”,并将“在适当的时候公布更多调查结果”。

数百万美元资产不翼而飞? “这就是人生”

过去五个月,各大媒体纷纷爆料,揭露FTX在破产之前糟糕的公司控制措施,但最新法院文件显示该公司的情况早已到了不可收拾的地步。

债务人的报告指控,该公司内部“无据可查的情况比比皆是”,例如公司高管甚至没有全体员工名单。没有可识别的客户和员工记录,导致班克曼-弗莱德和他的团队经常会忘记数百万美元资产。

众所周知,FTX使用会计软件QuickBooks,经营当时全球交易量第二大的加密货币交易平台,而QuickBooks主要用于小公司和消费者。债务人的报告发现,FTX内部的56家实体根本没有财务报表,35家FTX实体使用QuickBooks以及“谷歌(Google)文档、Slack通信、共享驱动器和Excel数据表以及其他非企业解决方案,管理资产和负债。”

债务人还声称,FTX的支出和发票被提交到一个Slack频道,并使用聊天表情审批。他们写道:“这种不正规的临时信息系统被用于审批数千万美元的资金转账,结果只有非正规的转账记录或者根本没有任何记录。”

报告称,Alameda的情况更糟糕。报告将该公司标记为一家投机性“加密货币对冲基金”。据爆料,在编写Alameda的2022年6月“投资组合摘要”时,班克曼-弗莱德告诉员工如果需要标记某些代币的价值,只要“编几个数字”即可。班克曼-弗莱德在与其他高管的内部通信中称Alameda“已经超越了任何审计师可以审计的门槛,就连部分审计都做不到。”

他写道:“我们有时候会发现5,000万美元被闲置的资产,而我们早已忘记还有这笔资产;这就是人生。”

报告还披露了已经被广泛报道的事实,即有数百万美元FTX的资产进入了前内部人士的腰包,让他们过上奢靡的生活,购买豪宅。

报告称:“无数贷款在前内部人士和Alameda之间执行,没有任何同期资料记录,而根据这些所谓的贷款拨付的资金,没有任何明确的记录说明它们的目的。”

打压不同意见,人人自危

FTX不仅在会计和风险控制方面管理不当。债务人的报告称,以班克曼-弗莱德为首的高管团队还试图压制任何“加强”合规的声音。

FTX美国总裁布莱特·哈里森因为公司不透明的管理结构、关键人员招聘和其他问题,与班克曼-弗莱德和工程总监辛格发生了分歧,因此选择辞职。报告称:“哈里森直接向他们提出这些问题后,他的奖金被大幅降低,而且有高级内部法律顾问指示他因为提出问题向班克曼-弗莱德道歉,但被哈里森拒绝。”

就连法律顾问也不安全,可能遭到班克曼-弗莱德和高管团队的打压。债务人称,FTX交易分公司聘请的一位律师,因为对公司“缺乏控制措施、合格的领导人和风险管理”等问题“表达担忧”,之后就被辞退。

债务人的报告还发现,虽然FTX在广告中自称是存放加密货币的安全平台,但其大多数资产都保存在“热钱包”中,因此“更容易遭到黑客攻击、盗窃和滥用”。而且该公司的技术显然也不可靠。一位前FTX员工表示:“如果尼沙德·辛格被公共汽车撞到,整个公司就会完蛋。加里·王也存在同样的问题。”(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

2023年3月30日,FTX创始人山姆·班克曼-弗莱德离开位于纽约市的美国联邦法院。摄影:KYLE MAZZA —— ANADOLU AGENCY/盖蒂图片社

在对已破产的加密货币交易平台FTX的深入调查中,有一份最新报告曝光了对该公司的多项指控,包括高管用开玩笑的态度对待被遗忘的数百万美元资产,公司的文化会打压潜在问题的报告者,而且全然漠视正常会计原则。

周日,由现任CEO和首席重组官约翰·雷三世领头的FTX债务人,向美国特拉华州破产法院提交了一份39页的报告,详细披露了该交易平台及其交易子公司Alameda Research的困境。他们指控FTX受到由联合创始人兼前CEO山姆·班克曼-弗莱德掌控的一个高管团伙完全控制。这些高管没有执行恰当的会计、安全和管理实践,导致该公司的“加密货币资产和资金从一开始就面临风险”。

他们写道:“虽然FTX集团的破产在一个新兴行业造成了规模空前的伤害,但该公司破产的许多根本原因并不陌生,例如傲慢、无能和贪婪等。”

报告称,班克曼-弗莱德和其他高管,包括联合创始人加里·王和Alameda Research CEO卡洛琳·艾莉森,“打压不同意见,混合并滥用公司和客户的资金,向第三方谎报业务情况,并且将动辄遗忘数百万美元资产的情况在内部作为玩笑,最终导致飞速崛起的FTX集团迅速破产。”

班克曼-弗莱德层被认为是加密货币圈的金童。在他和曾经如日中天的交易平台破产之后,遭到了各种指控。2022年初,经过疫情期间加密货币价格暴涨之后,FTX的估值高达320亿美元,据媒体称班克曼-弗莱德本人的身家高达160亿美元。但不到一年后的11月,该公司爆发流动性危机,最终曝光其资产负债表存在70亿美元巨大缺口,之后该公司按照破产法第11章申请破产保护。

FTX破产很快引发了法律诉讼。去年12月,班克曼-弗莱德被巴哈马当局逮捕,但他至今对13项联邦指控拒不认罪,包括电信欺诈和共谋洗钱等一系列刑事指控。班克曼-弗莱德预计将在今年10月开始接受法庭审判,但加里·王和卡洛琳·艾莉森等高管以及前工程总监尼沙德·辛格都在去年承认了欺诈指控罪名。

现在,FTX的债务人表示,自FTX破产以来,他们已经收回了14亿美元数字资产,并确定了另外17亿美元可收回的资产。在这个过程中,他们还发现了许多幕后细节,曝光了班克曼·弗莱德如何经营他的加密货币帝国。他们表示,仍在“每天获得新消息”,并将“在适当的时候公布更多调查结果”。

数百万美元资产不翼而飞? “这就是人生”

过去五个月,各大媒体纷纷爆料,揭露FTX在破产之前糟糕的公司控制措施,但最新法院文件显示该公司的情况早已到了不可收拾的地步。

债务人的报告指控,该公司内部“无据可查的情况比比皆是”,例如公司高管甚至没有全体员工名单。没有可识别的客户和员工记录,导致班克曼-弗莱德和他的团队经常会忘记数百万美元资产。

众所周知,FTX使用会计软件QuickBooks,经营当时全球交易量第二大的加密货币交易平台,而QuickBooks主要用于小公司和消费者。债务人的报告发现,FTX内部的56家实体根本没有财务报表,35家FTX实体使用QuickBooks以及“谷歌(Google)文档、Slack通信、共享驱动器和Excel数据表以及其他非企业解决方案,管理资产和负债。”

债务人还声称,FTX的支出和发票被提交到一个Slack频道,并使用聊天表情审批。他们写道:“这种不正规的临时信息系统被用于审批数千万美元的资金转账,结果只有非正规的转账记录或者根本没有任何记录。”

报告称,Alameda的情况更糟糕。报告将该公司标记为一家投机性“加密货币对冲基金”。据爆料,在编写Alameda的2022年6月“投资组合摘要”时,班克曼-弗莱德告诉员工如果需要标记某些代币的价值,只要“编几个数字”即可。班克曼-弗莱德在与其他高管的内部通信中称Alameda“已经超越了任何审计师可以审计的门槛,就连部分审计都做不到。”

他写道:“我们有时候会发现5,000万美元被闲置的资产,而我们早已忘记还有这笔资产;这就是人生。”

报告还披露了已经被广泛报道的事实,即有数百万美元FTX的资产进入了前内部人士的腰包,让他们过上奢靡的生活,购买豪宅。

报告称:“无数贷款在前内部人士和Alameda之间执行,没有任何同期资料记录,而根据这些所谓的贷款拨付的资金,没有任何明确的记录说明它们的目的。”

打压不同意见,人人自危

FTX不仅在会计和风险控制方面管理不当。债务人的报告称,以班克曼-弗莱德为首的高管团队还试图压制任何“加强”合规的声音。

FTX美国总裁布莱特·哈里森因为公司不透明的管理结构、关键人员招聘和其他问题,与班克曼-弗莱德和工程总监辛格发生了分歧,因此选择辞职。报告称:“哈里森直接向他们提出这些问题后,他的奖金被大幅降低,而且有高级内部法律顾问指示他因为提出问题向班克曼-弗莱德道歉,但被哈里森拒绝。”

就连法律顾问也不安全,可能遭到班克曼-弗莱德和高管团队的打压。债务人称,FTX交易分公司聘请的一位律师,因为对公司“缺乏控制措施、合格的领导人和风险管理”等问题“表达担忧”,之后就被辞退。

债务人的报告还发现,虽然FTX在广告中自称是存放加密货币的安全平台,但其大多数资产都保存在“热钱包”中,因此“更容易遭到黑客攻击、盗窃和滥用”。而且该公司的技术显然也不可靠。一位前FTX员工表示:“如果尼沙德·辛格被公共汽车撞到,整个公司就会完蛋。加里·王也存在同样的问题。”(财富中文网)

翻译:刘进龙

审校:汪皓

A new report filed in the ongoing autopsy of failed crypto exchange FTX reveals a litany of accusations against the company including executives who laughed about losing track of millions, a culture that cracked down on anyone who flagged potential problems, and a total disregard for normal accounting principles.

A group of FTX’s debtors, led by current CEO and chief restructuring officer John Ray III, filed a 39-page report with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware Sunday, detailing the demise of the exchange along with its trading arm, Alameda Research. They allege that FTX was completely controlled by a small cabal of executives, helmed by cofounder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), who failed to institute proper accounting, security, and management practices, putting the firm’s “crypto assets and funds at risk from the outset.”

“While the FTX Group’s failure is novel in the unprecedented scale of harm it caused in a nascent industry, many of its root causes are familiar: hubris, incompetence, and greed,” they wrote.

SBF and his top execs, including cofounder Gary Wang and Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, “stifled dissent, commingled and misused corporate and customer funds, lied to third parties about their business, joked internally about their tendency to lose track of millions of dollars in assets, and thereby caused the FTX Group to collapse as swiftly as it had grown,” the report says.

The allegations come after a swift fall from grace for crypto’s former golden boy, SBF, and his once high-flying exchange. In early 2022, after cryptocurrency prices soared throughout the pandemic, FTX was valued at $32 billion and SBF himself was reportedly worth $16 billion. But less than a year later, in November, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a liquidity crisis eventually revealed a $7 billion hole in its balance sheet.

The legal fallout from FTX’s collapse was swift. SBF was arrested by Bahamian authorities in December and has since pleaded not guilty to 13 federal indictments against him for a variety of criminal charges including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The former CEO’s trial is now scheduled to begin in October, but other top lieutenants including Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, as well as former engineering chief Nishad Singh, all already pleaded guilty to fraud charges last year.

Now, FTX’s debtors say they’ve recovered over $1.4 billion in digital assets since the exchange went under and identified an additional $1.7 billion that can be recovered. In the process, they’ve also uncovered numerous behind-the-scenes details about how SBF operated his crypto empire. And they say they are still gaining “new information daily” and will submit “additional findings in due course.”

Missing millions? ‘Such is life’

Revelations about the shoddy state of FTX’s corporate controls before its collapse have flooded headlines over the past five months, but the latest court documents show just how out of hand the situation may have been.

There was a “pervasive lack of records” at the company, the debtors’ report alleges, noting execs didn’t even have a list of all their employees. The lack of identifiable records for clients and employees led SBF and his team to lose track of millions in assets regularly.

FTX famously used the accounting software QuickBooks, which is meant for small businesses and consumers, to run what was then the world’s second-largest crypto exchange by volume. But the debtors’ report found that 56 entities within FTX didn’t produce financial statements at all, while 35 FTX entities used QuickBooks and “a hodgepodge of Google documents, Slack communications, shared drives, and Excel spreadsheets and other non-enterprise solutions to manage their assets and liabilities.”

The debtors also claimed that FTX’s expenses and invoices were submitted on a Slack channel and approved via emoji. “These informal, ephemeral messaging systems were used to procure approvals for transfers in the tens of millions of dollars, leaving only informal records of such transfers, or no records at all,” they wrote.

The situation at Alameda was even worse, according to the report, which labels the firm a speculative “crypto hedge fund.” When putting together Alameda’s June 2022 “Portfolio summary,” SBF reportedly told his staff to just “come up with some numbers” when it came to labeling certain token values. And in internal communications with fellow execs, SBF called Alameda “hilariously beyond any threshold of any auditor being able to even get partially through an audit.”

“We sometimes find $50m of assets lying around that we lost track of; such is life,” he wrote.

The report also alleged, as has been widely reported, that millions of dollars of FTX’s holdings made their way into the hands of former insiders who lived lavish lifestyles and bought expensive real estate.

“Numerous loans were executed between former insiders and Alameda without contemporaneous documentation, and funds were disbursed pursuant to those purported loans with no clear record of their purpose,” the report says.

Stifling dissent and not so secure

FTX was not only mismanaging its accounting and risk controls. According to the debtors’ report, top executives led by SBF also attempted to silence any attempts to “enhance” compliance.

The president of FTX.US, Brett Harrison, resigned after a disagreement with SBF and engineering chief Singh about the company’s opaque management structure, key hires, and other issues. “After raising these issues directly with them, his bonus was drastically reduced and senior internal counsel instructed him to apologize to Bankman-Fried for raising the concerns, which he refused to do,” the report says.

Even legal counsel wasn’t safe from backlash from SBF and his team of top execs. The debtors allege that a lawyer hired by FTX’s trading arm was fired after “expressing concerns” about a “lack of corporate controls, capable leadership, and risk management.”

The debtors’ report also found that while FTX advertised itself as a safe place to store cryptocurrencies, it kept most of its assets in “hot-wallets,” which made them “more susceptible to hacking, theft [and] misappropriation.” And the firm’s tech was apparently hanging on by a thread, too. One former FTX employee said that “if Nishad [Singh] got hit by a bus, the whole company would be done. Same issue with Gary [Wang].”

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