The Unknown Hedge Fund That Received $400 Million From Sam Bankman-Fried #Unidentified #Hedge #Fund #Million #Sam #BankmanFried


Not very long prior to FTX collapsed in November, its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, despatched $400 million to an obscure cryptocurrency investing agency named Modulo Capital.

The fledgling company, which was launched in March and operated out of the exact same Bahamian compound the place Mr. Bankman-Fried lived, had no track report or general public profile. Just one of the founders, Duncan Rheingans-Yoo, was only two years out of higher education. His small business husband or wife, Xiaoyun Zhang, recognized as Lily, was a previous Wall Avenue trader who experienced earlier been romantically involved with Mr. Bankman-Fried, according to four people today with know-how of their relationship.

Now, Modulo is rising as a critical part of the investigation by federal prosecutors into Mr. Bankman-Fried and his once large cryptocurrency trade. They’re analyzing whether he used FTX’s buyer funds to make investments in the minimal-known business when his present hedge fund, Alameda Research, was struggling amid a broader crypto sector downturn. The $400 million outlay was one particular of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s single biggest investments.

At the exact time, legal professionals for FTX’s new management are eyeing Modulo’s property as they scramble to get well the billions of pounds that consumers, loan providers and traders missing when the trade imploded.

It is unclear how considerably of FTX’s $400 million expenditure continues to be or exactly where it is. But the authorities have been mindful of the trading business for months the working day soon after Mr. Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas in mid-December, he was denied bail at a court listening to wherever a nearby prosecutor argued that he was a flight possibility and instructed he may well be able to faucet the resources sitting down with Modulo.

Right before starting up Modulo, Ms. Zhang and Mr. Rheingans-Yoo worked at Jane Street, the Wall Street agency exactly where Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, started his vocation and met a lot of of the people, in their 20s and 30s, who would later support him make his crypto empire.

It is unclear how significantly money Modulo experienced other than Mr. Bankman-Fried’s investment. But it commenced trading crypto before FTX failed, and it has now mainly shut down, according to a particular person acquainted with its functions.

Mr. Bankman-Fried’s decision to deliver so substantially funding to a begin-up trading organization at the identical time that Alameda was dropping revenue lifted suspicions for investigators.

At the bail hearing in Nassau, the local prosecutor cited an affidavit compiled by yet another Bahamian legislation enforcement official that has been below seal in court docket in the Bahamas. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan investigating Mr. Bankman-Fried consider the Modulo investment was manufactured working with legal proceeds — misappropriated funds that FTX customers experienced deposited with the trade, claimed a human being briefed on the investigation.

Neither of Modulo’s two founders has been accused of wrongdoing, but they lately employed Aitan Goelman, a felony defense lawyer who is a former director of enforcement for the Commodity Futures Investing Fee. Mr. Goelman explained he had no comment.

Reps for FTX, Mr. Bankman-Fried and the U.S. lawyer for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan all declined to comment.

The stream of revenue to Modulo has also caught the focus of the lawyers symbolizing FTX in the company’s bankruptcy proceeding in Delaware. In a slide presentation to the exchange’s collectors that was submitted in court previous Tuesday, FTX’s lawyers flagged the transaction with Modulo as a single of its primary targets for reclaiming dollars.

The presentation claimed Modulo acquired resources in installments in the third and fourth quarters of last calendar year. Around $300 million of that overall was transferred soon prior to FTX’s implosion, according to the Bahamian prosecutor.

The payments happened in the course of a period when transfers of money can be challenged and perhaps clawed again in the personal bankruptcy system. Clawback lawsuits are a effective resource in bankruptcies to recover property, and they played a critical part in assisting the victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme recoup a lot of the $19 billion that was invested in that many years-lengthy fraud.

“Focusing on large, questionable transactions to a fund, corporation or a human being with close connections to the debtor ahead of the individual bankruptcy submitting is generally the lower-hanging fruit in a individual bankruptcy circumstance,” mentioned Lindsey Simon, a company regulation and bankruptcy professor at the University of Ga School of Law.

Very last 7 days, FTX’s legal professionals explained they experienced uncovered $5.5 billion in funds, securities and digital belongings held in shopper accounts or tucked away in other components of the firm. But the true worth of several of the cryptocurrencies owned by FTX is really hard to identify, and the lawyers claimed the corporation however experienced a major shortfall in property.

On Friday, federal prosecutors disclosed that they had seized more than $600 million in assets belonging to Mr. Bankman-Fried, such as a mix of dollars and shares saved in bank and brokerage accounts.

Any authorized motion to reclaim the Modulo cash could provide a template for broader initiatives to get well revenue that Mr. Bankman-Fried invested in more compact corporations. At the top of his wealth and energy, he funneled an estimated $4.6 billion into a lot more than 300 companies, like an synthetic intelligence start-up identified as Anthropic and the crypto company Yuga Labs.

Even amid that expending spree, the Modulo deal stands out for the reason that of the amount of money of revenue concerned and Mr. Bankman-Fried’s near ties to the firm’s founders. Ms. Zhang and Mr. Rheingans-Yoo ended up also Modulo’s only directors, in accordance to incorporation papers submitted in the Bahamas.

The two still left Jane Avenue very last January, according to brokerage sector documents, about three months in advance of Modulo was incorporated. (Modulo has no link with a equally named expenditure agency in Brazil.)

A 2012 graduate of Amherst University, Ms. Zhang worked at Jane Avenue for a 10 years, overlapping with Mr. Bankman-Fried, who expended about three yrs there immediately after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technological innovation in 2014. Mr. Rheingans-Yoo was a trader at Jane Street from 2020 to 2022, joining soon soon after he graduated from Harvard, where he was captain of the fencing crew. The crypto publication CoinDesk earlier documented that Modulo’s founders experienced labored at Jane Avenue but did not detect them.

Ahead of Modulo obtained the $400 million, the financial commitment was the topic of discussion inside of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s restricted circle of best advisers, in accordance to two persons acquainted with the conversations.

Finally, Mr. Bankman-Fried moved forward in spite of reservations voiced by Caroline Ellison, the 28-yr-old main executive of Alameda, other individuals acquainted with the issue stated. Ms. Ellison has considering the fact that pleaded responsible to fraud charges for her position in FTX’s collapse and is cooperating with prosecutors in the legal scenario in opposition to Mr. Bankman-Fried.

Even more complicating the Modulo financial commitment were being the intimate ties among the the executives involved in the offer. Ms. Ellison and Mr. Bankman-Fried experienced dated in the previous, and they lived with each other with eight other roommates in a luxury penthouse at Albany, an oceanside vacation resort on the Bahamian island of New Providence.

Mr. Bankman-Fried had also experienced a transient romantic partnership with Ms. Zhang when they labored with each other at Jane Road, a person of the men and women with know-how of the relationship stated. By the time of the investment in Modulo, Mr. Bankman-Fried was not courting possibly woman, this particular person said.

Very last spring, Modulo established up an business in the exact same Albany vacation resort exactly where Mr. Bankman-Fried and Ms. Ellison lived. Ms. Zhang and Mr. Bankman-Fried were nonetheless good friends, and they would at times travel with each other on charter flights to New York from the Bahamas, according to two individuals common with the preparations.

Mr. Bankman-Fried commenced to pour money into Modulo at a time when Alameda was having difficulties. Following the crypto market crashed in May possibly, a quantity of crypto lenders recalled their financial loans to Alameda, prompting the buying and selling organization to pull revenue from FTX buyer accounts to make up for the shortfall, in accordance to federal prosecutors, regulators and previous Alameda employees.

Sometime all-around September, Mr. Bankman-Fried was seriously taking into consideration shutting down Alameda, in accordance to community charging paperwork, as effectively as non-public governing administration data acquired by The New York Times. At the time, Alameda experienced missing $5 billion, which Mr. Bankman-Fried acknowledged to colleagues was far more than the corporation experienced ever manufactured or was possible to make in the foreseeable future, the government records reported. But he also expressed problems about how FTX would perform devoid of Alameda trading on it.

The connections amongst FTX and the Modulo founders went further than Mr. Bankman-Fried’s romantic relationship with Ms. Zhang. Past year, FTX also employed Mr. Rheingans-Yoo’s more mature brother, Ross Rheingans-Yoo, from Jane Avenue to acquire a prime occupation at the FTX Foundation, a charitable group funded by Mr. Bankman-Fried.

Ross Rheingans-Yoo, who graduated from Harvard in 2016, labored on the foundation’s pandemic preparedness attempts, according to a page on his personalized internet site that is no extended lively. There is no indication that he had anything at all to do with Modulo, and he did not react to a request for remark.

But his charitable operate aligned carefully with the priorities of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s youthful brother, Gabe Bankman-Fried, who ran Guarding Towards Pandemics, an advocacy team that FTX assisted bankroll. Both of those Rheingans-Yoo brothers, in accordance to archived versions of their personalized biography pages, have been supporters of the principles of productive altruism, a philanthropic movement that urges adherents to donate the bulk of their income to charity and use data-pushed examination to increase the effect of the contributions.

Mr. Bankman-Fried had also aligned himself with the motion. For a long time, he invoked his determination to successful altruism as he cultivated a international brand, boasting that he received into crypto investing to make billions of bucks for deserving will cause.

Kitty Bennett and Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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