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Amid a probe into the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, Turkish authorities have seized the assets of Sam Bankman-Fried and other affiliates, the Turkish Treasury and Finance Ministry announced on Wednesday.
An inquiry into claims of fraud against the FTX former CEO Bankman-Fried has been opened as well, according to the statement.
The move follows last week’s initiation of a probe into the collapse of the exchange, which ran a local subsidiary called FTX Turkey.
Along with FTX, the agency is also looking into individuals and companies associated with the exchange, including financial institutions and crypto asset service providers.
Both investigations, launched under the country’s anti-money laundering laws, are led by the country’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), a department under the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.
The Turkish government added cryptocurrency exchanges to the list of entities subject to the country’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing (AML / TF) regulations in May 2021.
The FTX implosion
FTX, once the third-largest crypto exchange by trading volume, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. on November 11, after running into liquidity issues, and is now under voluntary administration.
The exchange was allegedly using client money to make risky investment bets through Alameda Research, a trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO on the same day as well and is currently in the Bahamas, where his parents and senior executives of the failed cryptocurrency exchange reportedly bought property worth $121 million using customers’ funds.
Earlier this week, the judge overseeing the FTX case agreed to formally move a Chapter 15 bankruptcy case filed by Bahamian liquidators from New York to Delaware while keeping the names and addresses of the top 50 creditors—owed approximately $3.1 billion—redacted.
According to James Bromley, counsel to FTX’s new management, there was a “lack of corporate controls” at the exchange, with Bankman-Fried using FTX as his “personal fiefdom.”