Released on $250 million bail, disgraced FTX-founder Sam Bankman-Fried was pictured relaxing in the American Airlines Flagship Lounge at New York JFK on Thursday, then flying business class to San Francisco as he awaits trial on charges of fraud.
Sam Bankman-Fried Lives It Up In Business Class On American Airlines
The 30-year-old founder of FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange and crypto hedge fund, has been indicted for fraud after FTX declared bankruptcy with over $1 billion “missing.” Bankman-Fried thought he was safe in the Bahamas, but was arrested there and later agreed to be extradited to the United States.
Bankman-Fried is independently wealthy and his parents, Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman, were both professors at Stanford Law School (his mother retired in September) and have also enjoyed great financial success. Bail for Bankman-Fried was set at $250 million, with his parents guaranteeing it against the equity on their $4 million property in Stanford, California as well as their “considerable” other assets.
Released from custody, Bankman-Fried flew home to California to live under house arrest at his parent’s house and did so in luxury…courtesy of an American Airlines Airbus A321T in business class from New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO).
Bankman-Fried was first photographed relaxing in the American Airlines Flagship Lounge at JFK (now called the Greenwich Lounge), which is reserved for international business class and those traveling in business on premium transcontinental flights like from New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco.
One of my followers spotted SBF chilling at JFK airport last night and snapped some icon photos pic.twitter.com/0Lg6OdqZz8
— litquidity (@litcapital) December 23, 2022
Later, he was pictured engaging in a conversation with his seatmate onboard the A321, which has 2-2 lie-flat seating in business class.
SBF en route to his parents’ house. Beanie is an excellent disguise, ser. pic.twitter.com/NHZ8uZg24a
— Tiffany Fong (@TiffanyFong_) December 23, 2022
So why does this matter? We are innocent until proven guilty in the USA and that is a great thing, but the bail system has always struck me as the sort of system that is egregiously stacked in favor of the financially well-off. I mean, have you got $250 million lying around?
With few exceptions, I don’t begrudge anyone for flying business class. With Bankman-Fried facing prison time, I can understand why he wanted one more jaunt in a forward cabin (no comment on the similarity of the onboard food and prison food).
Nevertheless, I find it interesting that accused of defrauding millions of users, many of their life savings, he would risk the optics of flying business class.
Sam Bankman-Fried is now under house arrest in Stanford after coming up with $250 in assets to meet bail. After being extradited from the Bahamas to the USA, Bankman-Fried flew to California in the comfort of American Airlines’ flagship business class, even taking time to relax in the lounge prior to the flight.
image: Eems1 / Reddit