Sam Bankman-Fried's dad told his son he didn't 'know what to say' — and looped in SBF's mom — after finding he'd be paid $200,000 instead of $1 million by FTX, lawsuit says

A composite image of Sam Bankman-Fried and his father Joseph Bankman, both pictured leaving the Manhattan Federal Court.
Sam Bankman-Fried and his father, Joe Bankman.Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
  • Sam Bankman-Fried's dad was not happy with his $200,000 salary at FTX, a lawsuit said.

  • In emails cited in the lawsuit, Joseph Bankman said he believed he would be paid $1 million by FTX.

  • He then apparently looped in his partner, Barbara Fried — Bankman-Fried's mom.

Sam Bankman-Fried's father was unhappy that his $200,000 salary from the now-bankrupt crypto exchange FTX was just a fifth of what he believed he would be paid, a lawsuit filed by the firm against SBF's parents and seen by Insider said.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, accused Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried of siphoning millions of dollars from FTX for their own benefits and causes. It detailed a complaint made by Bankman to his son about his pay from FTX and his subsequent involvement of Fried in the matter.

The exchange detailed in the lawsuit between the founder and his dad took place in January 2022.

In the emails, per the lawsuit, Bankman told the company's US head of administration he was getting only $16,667 a month from the company when he was "supposed to be getting $1M/yr, starting in December," which "would be a bit more than $80,000 a month, gross."

He then apparently took his complaints to his son, who cofounded the company and was its CEO, writing in an email: "Gee, Sam I don't know what to say here. This is the first [I] have heard of the 200K a year salary! Putting Barbara on this."

FTX's lawyers then wrote: "In other words, Bankman lobbied his son to massively increase his own salary."

"Bankman's influence paid off, not only for him but for Fried too," the lawyers continued.

"Within two weeks, Bankman-Fried gifted Bankman and Fried together $10 million in funds originating from Alameda Ltd.

"Within three months, Bankman-Fried caused the couple to be deeded a $16.4 million property in The Bahamas paid for with funds ultimately provided by FTX Trading. Bankman and Fried enjoyed the benefits of more than $90,000 in expenses, paid for by FTX Trading, for their Bahamas residence."

The lawsuit also said Bankman donated $5.5 million to Stanford University in an effort to "curry favor with and enrich his employer at the FTX Group's expense."

Bankman's and Fried's attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, sent outside regular US working hours.

In a statement to the crypto publication The Block, the couple's attorneys, Sean Hecker and Michael Tremonte, accused FTX of attempting to "intimidate" Bankman and Fried.

"This is a dangerous attempt to intimidate Joe and Barbara and undermine the jury process just days before their child's trial begins. These claims are completely false," they said.

The FTX group, including Bankman-Fried's trading firm Alameda Research, filed for bankruptcy in November 2022, with the cofounder stepping down from his role as CEO. The company's collapse revealed that Bankman-Fried had used significant chunks of FTX customers' funds to keep Alameda Research afloat.

He's since pleaded not guilty to eight criminal charges, including wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and is residing in a notorious Brooklyn jail where Ghislaine Maxwell was also held.

Correction: September 22, 2023 — An earlier version of this story misstated the name of Joseph Bankman's attorney. It's Sean Hecker, not Sean Heckler.

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