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FTX Bankruptcy: Texas, California, and New Jersey Join Call for Independent Examiner

  • February 25, 2023

A growing chorus of regulators wants an independent examiner appointed to review the financial statements, or lack thereof, in the FTX bankruptcy proceedings.

“Texas, among several other state and federal regulators, is currently investigating the Debtors and their related entities for violations in connection with their transaction of business in Texas and with Texas account holders,” wrote attorney Roma Desai on behalf of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The statement from the Texas attorney’s office follows similar motions from Wisconsin and Vermont regulators. The new court filing on Wednesday included letters of support from banking and securities officials in a handful of other states: Alaska; Arkansas; California; Florida; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Kentucky; Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and D.C..

If an examiner is appointed in the FTX case, it won’t be without some precedent.

Earlier this week the independent examiner who dug through bankrupt crypto lender Celsius released their 689-page report, concluding that problems at the company “dated back to at least 2020.”

The downfall of FTX

FTX and its related entities, including trading desk Alameda Research, filed for bankruptcy on November 11. Days later, newly appointed FTX CEO John Ray III, who’s overseeing the company’s restructuring, wrote in his first day declaration that the lack of corporate governance at the insolvent crypto exchange trumped anything he’d ever seen. He called the former leadership team, led by FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, “inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised.”

Although FTX’s restructuring team has maintained that it can untangle the mess it’s been left with, the U.S. Trustees appointed to oversee its bankruptcy proceedings aren’t convinced.

The U.S. Trustee, appointed by the Department of Justice to oversee FTX’s bankruptcy case, filed a motion to have an examiner appointed to “investigate the substantial and serious allegations of

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FTX CEO testifies on ‘pure hell’ post-bankruptcy days at exchange

  • February 24, 2023

John Ray, who took over as CEO of crypto exchange FTX, has described some of the chaotic experiences at the firm following the company declaring bankruptcy.

In testimony for FTX’s case in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on Feb. 6, Ray said he and other professionals had “carefully” been conducting an investigation into FTX’s activities, due to the company having no physical office. The FTX CEO seemed to be pushing back against a motion to assign an independent examiner to the bankruptcy case, claiming that “inadvertent errors” could result in “hundreds of millions of dollars of value” being destroyed.

According to Ray, when he took control of FTX in November 2022, there was “not a single list of anything” related to bank accounts, income, insurance or personnel, causing a “massive scramble for information.” The FTX CEO said the same day he helped file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition, and there were multiple attempts to steal crypto, resulting in security experts and liquidators moving quickly to secure funds.

“Your normal first-day petition is chaotic as sometimes can be — this was something that I have never experienced,” said Ray. “Those hacks went on virtually all night long […] It was really 48 hours of what I can only describe as pure hell.”

The FTX CEO claimed he had had no connection with former executives at the exchange, including Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried or his parents prior to taking control of the company. According to Ray, anyone “that was in a control position” under Bankman-Fried no longer had any authority to direct FTX company actions.

Ray’s testimony came amid a motion from the Office of the U.S. Trustee arguing the court should appoint an independent examiner who

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