Competing Claims for Bankman-Fried’s Forfeited Assets: A Legal Analysis

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In the FTX bankruptcy saga, three distinct groups have lodged competing claims over assets seized from former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) following his criminal conviction. In March, the Federal High Court’s $11 billion forfeiture order included various properties such as crypto tokens, private jets, and bank funds. Now, the FTX debtors’ estate, a class of creditors, and an offshore entity founded by SBF are all vying for control over these assets.

The FTX Debtors’ Estate Claim

The FTX debtors’ estate, led by John Ray III, who replaced SBF as CEO, filed a claim last Friday. This claim encompasses six categories of assets, including:

The debtors’ estate argues that these assets never legally belonged to SBF but were instead linked to his criminal activities. The estate contends that granting them these assets will benefit all creditors and stakeholders involved in FTX’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and the liquidation of FTX Digital Markets in The Bahamas, including victims of Bankman-Fried’s crimes.

Read our FTX reports here.

Emergent’s Competing Claim

Emergent, the entity used to purchase Robinhood shares, has also filed a claim. Emergent asserts that it retains the title to these assets, including proceeds from the already seized and sold shares. Despite SBF‘s 90% ownership in Emergent, the entity claims that he never owned the Robinhood shares or the related cash directly.

Emergent’s filing emphasizes that the government only traced $292 million of the Robinhood shares to SBF’s criminal conduct, suggesting that not all assets should be considered part of the forfeiture.

The conflict over the Robinhood shares is particularly contentious, with Emergent asserting its ownership while the debtors’ estate claims superior interest. The estate has indicated ongoing discussions with Emergent to resolve the issue without further litigation but stands ready to contest any competing claims if necessary.

The Creditors’ Class-Action Claim

Simultaneously, a class-action lawsuit led by Sunil Kavuri, representing the largest FTX creditor group, has also staked a claim to many of these assets. The creditors’ suit, filed in the Southern District of Florida, argues that the assets in question should be returned to FTX customers rather than the debtors’ estate. This filing highlights that the forfeited assets are derived from SBF‘s fraud against FTX customers, not from the FTX entities themselves.

Court Proceedings and Future Outlook

Each of these groups has requested hearings to adjudicate their claims, though the dates for these hearings remain unclear. The resolution of these claims will significantly impact the distribution of assets and the recovery process for victims of the FTX collapse.

The competing claims highlight the complexity of untangling assets in high-profile bankruptcy cases involving criminal activities. The outcome will set a precedent for how such disputes are handled in the future, especially in the cryptocurrency sector, where legal frameworks are still evolving.


As the legal battles continue, the FTX debtors’ estate maintains that their claim serves the best interests of creditors, promising to distribute funds in compliance with federal laws and regulations. Meanwhile, the class-action suit and Emergent‘s claims add layers of complexity to an already intricate case. Stakeholders and observers alike will be watching closely as the courts determine the rightful ownership of the contested assets.

For ongoing updates and detailed legal analysis, follow FinTelegram’s coverage of the FTX bankruptcy proceedings.

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