By Grace Dean, Business Insider/Fox Business
23rd November 2022 – (Nassau) Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of crypto exchange FTX, often spent thousands of dollars on lunches at a bistro in the Bahamas, staff at the restaurant told Fox Business.
He often spent US$2,500 on lunch for himself and FTX staff, workers at Cocoplum, which is located a short walk from FTX’s headquarters in Nassau, told the outlet. Its address is at Harbour Green Shopping Plaza West Bay Street Nassau N.P, Bahamas.
Soup, the restaurant’s cheapest appetizer, costs $14 a bowl and entrees cost up to $75. Wine starts at $12 a glass.
Restaurant staff said FTX employees used to bring guests for lunch meetings. But they never returned for happy hour, a bartender told Fox Business, adding: “They’re geeks man. They don’t hang out.”
Cocoplum staff told Fox Business that the restaurant was one of several that delivered lunch to the FTX HQ on a regular basis, adding that the total cost was about $10,000 a day. The restaurant declined to comment when asked by Insider how often FTX staff visited and how much they spent.
Bankman-Fried previously told Reuters that FTX provided its staff with free meals and an “in-house Uber-like” service to transport them around the island, and 10 of them lived together in a roughly $40 million luxury penthouse.
Bankman-Fried had touted himself as a believer in effective altruism, saying he was building up his fortune with the plan to give almost all of it away. Reuters reported that in 2021 he drew an annual salary of $200,000, declared $1 million in real estate assets, and spent $50,000 on personal expenses.
But since FTX collapsed earlier this month, reports have revealed the full extent of Bankman-Fried’s lavish lifestyle.
Reuters reported that FTX, senior executives at the company, and Bankman-Fried’s parents, bought at least 19 properties worth around $120 million in the Bahamas over the past two years, citing property records. This included close to $72 million spent on seven condominiums in a beachfront resort community, bought by a unit of FTX, per the outlet.
Comments he made to Vox after FTX collapsed suggest his support for effective altruism may have been at least partly a PR stunt.
The crypto mogul’s fortune once peaked at $26 billion, but has now been wiped out, Bloomberg reported. Bankman-Fried declined to answer Fox Business when asked if he used client assets to fund his purchases.