‘No impact’

PM shrugs off concerns of FTX’s spending spree in Bahamas real estate

Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday that the collapse of Bahamas-headquartered FTX will not impact The Bahamas’ real estate market despite the $300 million worth of property reportedly bought by the bankrupt cryptocurrency giant.

The prime minister also revealed that local authorities have interviewed FTX’s former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.

During the first-day hearing for FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in Delaware last week, James Bromley, co-council for the debtors, said, “… One of the US debtors is an entity that purchased almost $300 million worth of real estate in The Bahamas. Based on preliminary investigations, most of those real estate purchases relate to homes and vacation properties that were used by its senior executives of the company.”

A search of records at the Office of the Registrar General showed that FTX, Bankman-Fried and other company associates spent more than $130 million on real estate in The Bahamas since 2020.

Asked yesterday about the impact of FTX’s collapse on The Bahamas’ real estate market, Davis said, “It will have no impact.”

Bahamas Real Estate Association President Nikki Beouf said last week that the FTX’s local purchase resulted in “an up tick in sales”.

“I know it has caused a shortage for some types of property in the luxury sector as a direct result, but really that’s the extent of it from a real estate perspective,” she said.

On Wednesday, during an interview with the New York Times’ DealBook Summit with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bankman-Fried said the company’s investment in Bahamian real estate was the company’s bid to attract top talent from Silicon Valley to The Bahamas.

“… There were a lot of property purchases in The Bahamas,” he said.

“The reason for that is we had basically 100 top Silicon Valley employees come down here to work for FTX and we were trying to incentivize that to make sure they had an easy way to find a comfortable life, so that they would be willing to move and help build out the product.

“So, those hundred people put together here did end up buying a substantial amount of property. I feel bad about how those investments may turn out for them.”

FTX collapsed last month and it subsequently applied for bankruptcy in the United States.

Its assets have been frozen by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas and Bahamian police are probing whether there was any “criminal misconduct”.

When asked yesterday if local authorities interviewed Bankman-Fried, Davis replied, “I heard that he was.’

He did not indicate which authorities – police or regulators – interviewed Bankman-Fried.

Acting Commissioner of Police Leamond Deleveaux told The Nassau Guardian that police had not interviewed Bankman-Fried, who was still in The Bahamas as of Thursday.

The prime minister said The Bahamas’ investigation into the fall of FTX “is ongoing”.

While noting that uncertainties remain over the outcome of the bankruptcy proceedings involvingFTX Digital Markets, joint provisional liquidators said this week that they continue to try to gain access to cloud-based servers, books and records, and contend with the new chief executive officer of FTX US directing the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The liquidators added that they have retained all FDM employees who have not resigned or stated their intention to resign and that it is their intention to “realize the maximum possible value for FTX Digital stakeholders”.

They said they have been investigating the causes of the global collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its impact on FDM, and trying to secure FDM’s assets since being appointed.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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