According to the US DOJ, the Robinhood shares have drawn ownership claims from several parties, including SBF and FTX creditors.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) recently disclosed that it seized a little over 55 million Robinhood shares valued at more than $450 million. The federal law enforcer also said it confiscated more than $20 million in fiat currency. According to the US DOJ, the seized Robinhood shares and US currency align with its ongoing criminal case against Sam Bankman-Fried. The disgraced former FTX CEO is facing criminal charges in New York following his extradition from the Bahamas in late December.
In a January 6th court filing, the DOJ officially notified the court handling the BlockFi bankruptcy of its asset’s seizure. According to the US federal executive department, the 55,273,469 Robinhood shares are allegedly linked to BlockFi, SBF, and FTX creditor Yonathan Ben Shimon. Both parties previously made competing claims to the trading app’s stock. Meanwhile, the DOJ also said it took possession of more than $20 million in US currency from ED&F Man Capital Markets.
Part of the DOJ court filing read:
“The charges in the Indictment arise from an alleged wide-ranging scheme by the defendant to misappropriate billions of dollars of customer funds deposited onto FTX, the international cryptocurrency exchange founded by Bankman-Fried.”
The document also states:
“The Indictment includes forfeiture allegations, seeking to forfeit property that constitutes or was derived from proceeds traceable to the conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and property involved in the conspiracy to commit money laundering.”
US DOJ Alleges SBF Sought Access to Robinhood Shares to Pay Legal Fees
The Department of Justice opined that SBF laid claim to the Robinhood stock to help pay his legal fees. However, the DOJ also said that it did not believe the stake was part of the FTX bankruptcy estate. Meanwhile, weighing in on the competing claims to the Robinhood stock, US Attorney Seth Shapiro suggested a resolution via forfeiture proceedings. In addition to SBF and Ben Shimon, liquidators in Antigua have also claimed the $465 million Robinhood stake.
In related news, BlockFi alleges that SBF used the Robinhood stake as collateral for his trading firm Alameda Research.
According to reports, the DOJ also seized other assets linked to the failed exchange via separate court filings. These include $93 million in funds held at California crypto bank Silvergate Capital Corp.
In light of FTX’s demise, creditors and customers have been sifting through the exchange’s remains for salvageables. This last-gasp attempt to retrieve any funds comes as various creditors move to gain control of the sunken crypto’s assets.
SBF has pleaded not guilty to the eight criminal charges against him, including wire fraud and misuse of customer funds. However, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang previously pleaded guilty to similar charges.
SBF’s trial begins on October 2nd, and if found guilty, the once-celebrated crypto personality could face up to 115 years in prison.