Sam Bankman-Fried’s Stanford law professor parents continue to do everything they can for their embattled son, and that includes buying him a German Shepherd to keep him company and to bolster his safety as he remains stuck in their home on house arrest.
The dog is named Sandor, and he was with Bankman-Friend when he greeted a writer for Puck at his parents’ home near the Stanford campus earlier this month. Bankman-Fried “certainly is a young man in need of both defense and a friend,” Theodore Schleifer wrote. He explained how Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, the parents of the disgraced FTX founder, are paying for 24-hour security around their house and purchased the dog soon after their son was released on a $250 million bond.
Bankman-Fried has become a “public enemy” and has reportedly faced death threats since the collapse of FTX and his arrest in the Bahamas in mid-November. The 30-year-old mop-haired entrepreneur is charged with eight felony counts pertaining to what federal prosecutors have called “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”
During his visit to Bankman-Fried’s home, Schleifer said he saw neither Bankman nor Fried, who, up until their son’s notoriety, were popular, longtime professors at Stanford Law School. The couple may have retreated to another part of the house, while Bankman-Fried, wearing a T-shirt, shorts and a GPS monitor strapped to his ankle, escorted the writer into the kitchen.
During the more than two-hour interview at the kitchen table, Bankman-Fried “evinced his loneliness and his isolation, but also a hint of mysterious confidence, as if he could somehow wiggle his way out of his current predicament as he had in the past,” Schleifer said. Bankman-Fried expressed repentance but also seemed incredulous that his $32 billion company had gone bankrupt and that his legal troubles “might bleed his parents dry of cash and ruin the lives of the entire Bankman-Fried family.”
About home confinement, Bankman-Fried said, “It doesn’t feel like being bored during a vacation. It feels simultaneously, very antsy and frustrating and stressful. And a lot of trying to find anything I can do, to the extent there is anything. But what I can do is limited.”
Bankman-Fried spends his days going “stir-crazy,” eating vegan burgers delivered to his home, playing video games, “voraciously consuming Twitter,” and studying up on federal wire-fraud laws ahead of his trial, Schleifer said. Indeed, Bankman-Fried seems more consumed by learning about the law than about the people who lost money on FTX, Schleifer added.
During the interview, Sandor rested near the kitchen table as Bankman-Fried declined to talk about his brother, Gabe, and admitted that he had not spoken to any of his former colleagues at FTX and Alameda Research, his trading firm.
“A lot of the people who I was closest to were my colleagues,” Bankman-Fried said when asked whether he still had any childhood or high school friends living nearby. “Most of the people who I was friends with are not talking to me.”
“For a number of years, I was incredibly lucky and fortunate in terms of a lot of the relationships and support that I had,” Bankman-Fried continued. “Now there’s basically nothing left.”
One of those friends who presumably no longer speaks to Bankman-Fried is Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House spokesperson and founder of SkyBridge Capital. At a crypto panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Monday, Scaramucci said that he, Bankman-Fried and Joseph Bankman were once close, but he said he now views Bankman-Fried as a “fraud,” Insider reported.
FTX reportedly bought 30% of Scaramucci’s SkyBridge Capital investment firm for $45 million, while SkyBridge Capital bought $10 million of FTX’s cryptocurrency; The token’s value has since fallen 90%, Insider reported.
“I made a mistake being involved with Sam,” Scaramucci said, according to Insider. “I thought Sam was the Mark Zuckerberg of crypto, I did not think he was the Bernie Madoff of crypto. And I got that wrong.”
Bankman-Fried confirmed to Schleifer that the only people he talks to are his attorneys and his parents.
“He is a public enemy, defended by a German Shepherd, a few lawyers he will eventually struggle to afford, a pair of loving parents, and basically no one else,” Schleifer said in the conclusion of their interview. “All he has left to bet on is himself, an instinct that worked in the past. Until, one day, it didn’t.”