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Semafor LogoReed Albergotti and Liz Hoffman
tech

UK watchdog questions people related to FTX and requests documents

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Reuters/Dado Ruvic

The U.K.’s top securities enforcer is questioning people connected to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and requesting documents, according to people familiar with the matter.

The inquiries are not part of an official investigation, according to another person briefed on the matter, but they mark at least the third country whose government agencies are circling FTX and its embattled founder, Sam Bankman-Fried.

He is accused of transferring money belonging to FTX customers to Alameda Research, a crypto trading firm that he helped found. The collapse is likely to be an enforcement bonanza involving multiple agencies, as most of FTX’s customers were outside the U.S.

The Financial Conduct Authority does not have jurisdiction over cryptocurrency, which is not considered an official security under UK law. But the agency warned consumers in August that FTX had not registered with the FCA and was targeting U.K. customers.

In the U.S., the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan are investigating, with the latter fighting with the U.S. Department of Justice over who will prosecute, according to two people familiar with the matter. The Securities Commission in the Bahamas has said it is looking into the matter.

According to one person familiar with the matter, the FCA is interested in when officials at Alameda Research first conceived of creating FTX and launching its digital token, called FTT.

Alameda was co-founded in 2017 by Bankman-Fried, who is an investor in Semafor. Then, in 2019, Bankman-Fried created FTX. Though the two are separate firms, they remain closely linked.

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