FTX liquidators’ legal team urges cooperation with Bahamian authorities amid favoritism allegations

A lawyer representing provisional liquidators overseeing FTX’s operations in the Bahamas has pushed back against allegations officials in the country were using the collapse of the crypto exchange to benefit its residents first.

In a Dec. 16 hearing for FTX Trading’s bankruptcy proceedings, White & Case partner Jason Zakia said allegations made by debtors concerning assets and Bahamian authorities were “wholly without merit”. The legal team represented provisional liquidators for FTX Digital Markets — the firm’s operations in the Bahamas — whose appointments were approved by the country’s Supreme Court in November and had “no involvement” in the downfall of FTX prior to its bankruptcy, according to Zakia.

“In any international case like this, there are a multitude of jurisdictions that have legitimate and important interests and that certainly includes the Bahamas,” said Zakia. “The Bahamian legal system is an independent legal system that should be respected. There have been a lot of allegations and aspersions thrown around directed at the Bahamas — the Bahamian government, the Bahamian legal system.”

He clarified:

“One of the allegations […] that Bahamians were somehow facilitating payments off the system to Bahamian residents in preference to other creditors. When you look at the evidence, they have that exactly backwards. [Joint provision liquidators] were appointed specifically as part of an effort to stop such activity.”

FTX filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in the United States District of Delaware on Nov. 11. The bankruptcy court has held a few hearings as part of the proceedings dealing with how the firm’s assets may be handled amid interests from FTX debtors and creditors. The next hearing available to the public is expected on Jan. 11, which will likely address the crypto exchange’s naming rights deal over the FTX Arena.

Related: FTX Bahamas co-CEO Ryan Salame blew the whistle on FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried

In the Bahamas, former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried was sent to prison following a bail hearing on Dec. 13 in conjunction with charges from the U.S. Justice Department. The government agency has warned individuals involved that it was “not done” with arrests.