Daniel Friedberg, the former FTX “chief regulatory officer” linked to an infamous online poker cheating scandal, also gave the maximum possible donation to Rep. George Santos during the disgraced Republican’s successful bid for Congress.
The former FTX executive gave the maximum allowable donation of $5,800 to the Santos campaign last June, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
The Seattle-based attorney listed his employer as “Alameda Research” – the doomed cryptocurrency hedge fund that collapsed into bankruptcy alongside FTX.
Friedberg told the Seattle Times, which first reported on the campaign contributions Friday, that he donated to Santos on the recommendation of a friend.
Santos has faced bipartisan calls to resign from Congress following revelations that he fabricated key parts of his resume and background.
“Obviously he’s a terrible candidate but this was unknown to me at the time,” Friedberg told the newspaper. He declined further comment.
The filings showed that Friedberg also donated $2,900 to Michelle Bond, who staged an unsuccessful bid for a Congressional seat in New York last year. Bond is the girlfriend of former FTX executive Ryan Salame – who alerted regulators in the Bahamas about alleged malfeasance at the company last November.
The Santos campaign donation is the latest link to controversy for Friedberg – whose FTX ties drew intense scrutiny after The Post and other outlets reported on his previous work as an attorney for UltimateBet.
The poker site collapsed following revelations that certain UltimateBet associates had access to a software exploit dubbed “God Mode” that enabled them to bilk card players out of millions of dollars from 2005 to 2008. Actor Ben Affleck was among the players reportedly victimized in the scheme, which was eventually chronicled in a segment on “60 Minutes.”
In the leaked audio published in 2013 and still widely available online, Friedberg advised UltimateBet executives on how to minimize restitution payments to victims. Friedberg was never charge with a crime for his work with UltimateBet and there is no indication he was ever investigated by authorities or regulators.
He later asserted to NBC News that his meeting with UltimateBet executives was illegally recorded, though he did not deny its authenticity.
Friedberg listed as eligible to practice law on the Washington State Bar Association’s website. A search of the association’s online director showed no pending or past disciplinary actions against him.
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison on charges that he swindled billions of dollars in customer money that were purportedly used to fund a lavish lifestyle and prop up risky bets at Alameda. Bankman-Fried is currently under house arrest.
Friedberg, Bankman-Fried are among several FTX-linked executives or celebrity backers who were named as defendants in a sweeping class-action lawsuit filed in Florida federal court.
Friedberg has been cooperating with federal investigators in their probe of FTX’s downfall since November, just days after the platform tumbled into bankruptcy, according to Reuters.
In a declaration disclosed last month as part of FTX bankruptcy proceedings, Friedberg said he only learned of an “$8 billion customer deficit” last Nov. 7, days before the company collapsed.
“Prior to this disclosure, I had no idea of any customer deficit,” Friedberg said, according to the filing. “It was not my job as regulatory counsel to conduct a customer proof of reserves; indeed, I would have no idea how to do this.”
Friedberg said he resigned from FTX because he “no longer trusted” Bankman-Fried or his close associates.
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