Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, widely known as “SBF,” once contemplated the idea of offering Donald Trump a substantial sum to refrain from running for the U.S. presidency. This revelation comes from Michael Lewis, the author of the recently published book titled “Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon.”
In a 60 Minutes interview on October 1, Michael Lewis shared intriguing insights from his book, shedding light on SBF’s unconventional proposal. Lewis mentioned that SBF seriously explored the notion of compensating Donald Trump not to enter the presidential race. Lewis explained, “Sam’s thinking that we could pay Donald Trump not to run for president […] like how much would it take?” He further revealed that a figure of $5 billion was floated as a potential sum, although it remains uncertain if this amount was directly suggested by Donald Trump.
Legal Considerations and Financial Constraints
Lewis also mentioned that SBF and his team were examining the legal aspects of such an offer. However, this audacious plan never materialized primarily because Bankman-Fried no longer possessed the $5 billion required for such a proposition. According to Lewis, SBF viewed Trump’s actions as a threat to U.S. democracy and considered him an “existential risk.” This perspective influenced SBF’s brainstorming session on ways to deter Trump from pursuing the presidency.
“Sam’s thinking that we could pay Donald Trump not to run for president […] like how much would it take?”
Lewis also touched upon the aftermath of FTX’s collapse in November 2022. He likened it to the scene after the eruption of Pompeii, with belongings and company assets left behind. Many employees swiftly departed, leaving company vehicles unattended at the airport.
Regarding the legal proceedings, a high-profile trial involving Sam Bankman-Fried is set to commence on October 3 with jury selection, followed by the trial itself on October 4. The trial encompasses seven fraud cases against SBF, including two substantive charges and five conspiracy charges.
Cointelegraph reached out to legal representatives for both Bankman-Fried and Trump, but Mark Botnick, handling communications for the SBF case, confirmed that there was no comment from their legal team.