The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) received no money from FTX, Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday, adding that recent criticism of The Bahamas following the collapse of the Bahamas-headquartered crypto currency giant have been an “unfair characterization”.
When asked if the PLP took any campaign financing from FTX, Davis replied, “Not to my knowledge.”
Asked if anyone in the party took any money from the company, he said, “No, I don’t.”
Davis was unable to indicate whether any members of his Cabinet hold any digital wallet associated with FTX.
“In fact, I’m agnostic to it,” he said.
“I do not hold any wallets.”
Davis said the government had not invested in the company.
He said The Bahamas has “no exposure” to the FTX debacle.
“I have positioned The Bahamas to be the leading jurisdiction in the digital assets space,” Davis said.
“I’m intending to keep that position and the only thing of concern is reputational consequences and I’m dealing with that.”
The digital asset exchange was incorporated as FTX Digital Markets in The Bahamas on July 22, 2021 as an International Business Company.
FTX opened an office in The Bahamas exactly three weeks after the PLP came to office last year.
Davis, who joined FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried for a ceremonial ribbon cutting said the arrival of FTX in The Bahamas was a testament that the country was headed down the right path in becoming a fintech hub.
The prime minister was also present when the company broke ground on its $60 million headquarters in April. The plans and sketches revealed at the ceremony showed two hotel towers, offices and an athletics center.
When asked yesterday about the hotel aspect of the development, Davis said, “I’m not aware of them making any promises about any boutique hotels. The only indication about anything near to that is that they were going to build a campus for teaching and like a technical school to house their workers out on West Bay Street.
“I know they purchased the land. The land was cleared. Where that is now, I don’t know.”
The prime minister was asked yesterday about the criticism of The Bahamas in the international media recently.
“I think it’s unfair,” Davis said.
“It’s an unfair characterization. I’m not concerned about our reputation in that regard because most of what is being said is the posturing of persons who would wish to have the liquidation under their control.
“So, once that is settled, you would see that everything will just blow away.”
The Bahamas has taken hits to its reputation since the collapse of FTX.
A Financial Times reporter wrote last week that “despite the wall of silence, I’d be remiss not to mention the scene at Nassau’s airport, which was still inexplicably running ads for FTX when I arrived”.
He continued, “As one dismayed couple at passport control noted: ‘The first thing they tell you to do is to trust FTX.’”
One person tweeted: “Isn’t it time the US impose serious sanctions on The Bahamas for providing secrecy to corps inflicting serious damage on US citizens like FTX? Providing cover for dark money sources funding federalist society, NRA, GOP…”
On November 10, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas (SCB) froze the assets of FTX Digital Markets and appointed joint provisional liquidators.
FTX, which once was the third largest crypto exchange in the world, filed for bankruptcy the following day.
On November 16, SCB confirmed that it had directed the transfer of all digital assets of FTX Digital Markets to a digital wallet it controls “for safekeeping” the week before, adding that “urgent interim regulatory action was necessary to protect the interests of clients and creditors”.