According to public filings, former crypto billionaire and FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried met with senior Biden administration officials before he was indicted for financial fraud. When asked about the visits, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told the press the meetings involved discussions about “pandemic prevention.”
The disgraced FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), who is currently charged with eight counts of financial fraud and misconduct, met with the senior White House adviser Steve Richetti three times. SBF also met with the White House deputy chief of staff Bruce Reed on one occasion as well. SBF donated a great deal of money to Democrat leaders in the U.S., including $5.2 million in campaign donations to the current president Joe Biden.
According to reports, several members of the U.S. Democratic Party and certain campaign committees are currently under investigation by federal prosecutors for donations associated with SBF. Just recently, during a Dec. 13, 2022 press briefing, a reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre if the administration would return the funds.
“I’m covered here by the Hatch Act,” Jean-Pierre remarked to the reporter. She further noted that there were limitations on what she could say to the press. ”Anything that’s connected to political contributions, from here I would have to refer you to the DNC,” Jean-Pierre added.
To start the new year, the White House held a press briefing on Jan. 3, 2023, and Jean-Pierre was asked about the four meetings with SBF and senior Biden administration officials. Biden’s press secretary explained that the meetings were about gathering general knowledge about the crypto industry and pandemic prevention.
“Let me give you a few rundowns here. As we previously confirmed and as you know, I know you’re following this very closely, these meetings included Steve Richetti and Bruce Reed, the meetings focused on pandemic prevention related to Sam Bankman-Fried’s foundation,” Jean-Pierre said. “And general information on the cryptocurrency industry and crypto exchanges. Look, you know, the administration has been clear about the need for Congress to take action when we talk about addressing cryptocurrency.”
Jean-Pierre also discussed Biden’s focus on the crypto industry and his recent executive order last March. “The president as you know released an executive order on this topic just last March. And the president released a framework for protecting consumers last fall and last November,” the press secretary continued. “Secretary Yellen renewed the administration’s call for Congress to take action. So as you know the White House regularly engages with officials from a range of industries and sectors including leaders in businesses like nonprofits.”
The pandemic prevention commentary was a topical discussion on social media after the Jan. 3 press briefing published on Tuesday. Jean-Pierre’s statements were mocked just like her Hatch Act statements two weeks prior. One individual who joked about Jean-Pierre’s SBF comments said that maybe the White House should “schedule a meeting with Jordan Belfort (the Wolf of Wall Street) on vaccines next.”
What do you think about the White House’s statements concerning senior Biden officials meeting with the indicted FTX co-founder SBF? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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