Outwardly, FTX's Sam Bankman-Fried had a monk-like aesthetic, but on the inside, he lived ultra luxuriously at an exclusive Bahamas address, where many local employees were at his and his inner circle's service, a Fortune magazine report has revealed.
Sam Bankman-Fried had moved the now-failed crypto exchange to the island country in 2021. He took up residence at a seaside residence costing $30 million.
He and his confidants, including Caroline Ellison, the CEO of FTX's sister organisation Alameda Research, lived a "pampered life".
Their penthouse was situated in a private community that has a mega yacht marina, a massive golf course and restaurants that don't open for the general public, the report said.
The website CoinDesk had also reported on how this "gang of kids" ran the crypto exchange from the Bahamas and how FTX was a place of rampant nepotism and conflicting interests.
Bankman-Fried, once seen as crypto's golden boy, had good standing with the Bahamas government because of his generous donations.
“They were able to get what they wanted a lot faster and built a lot of goodwill, which is why the government securities exchange commission and auditors held those guys up as the golden child,” a local resident told Fortune magazine. “That’s usually how it is when foreigners come in with a lot of money, throwing it around.”
But a huge of FTX money was used to make Bankman-Fried's and his staff's lives more luxurious, the report said.
A former employee told Fortune about the how staffers could get whatever groceries they wanted twice a week and were also treated to complimentary meals and parties.
Many locals hired by FTX were constantly at Bankman-Fried and his team's service, she added.
“They had people from the Bahamas because they had to,” the employee told Fortune. “They really worked hard, around the clock. I don’t even know what their off days looked like.”
Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO in the middle of the FTX crisis. Earlier this month, the company once valued at $32 billion, filed for bankruptcy.
John J. Ray, the executive who takes over FTX from Bankman-Fried, has made sharp remarks about how the company was managed.
"Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here," Ray said in a bankruptcy filing, according to AFP.(With inputs from AFP)