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Following contentious meetings with Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX lobbyists, a top SEC official resigns

Dan Berkovitz, the Securities and Exchange Commission's General Counsel, has resigned following claims that he met and dined with disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.

Berkovitz's departure from the SEC is effective January 31, according to a recent notice. Following his resignation, Megan Barbero, the SEC's Principal Deputy General Counsel, will be appointed General Counsel.

According to the Washington Examiner, Berkovitz was an ally of FTX within the financial regulatory agency and met with Bankman-Fried and other crypto lobbyists. The site claimed to have seen emails indicating that the SEC employee had a friendly relationship with SBF.

The emails were discovered initially by the group Protect the Public's Trust. Protect the Public's Trust director Michael Chamberlain stated:

“If ever there were a scene to conjure up a vision of a D.C. rigged toward corrupt insiders at the expense of the little guy, it would be difficult to top this one. Not long before its collapse and a raft of fraud charges, SBF and his gang were wooing."

Bankman-Fried, FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller, and then-FTX President Brett Harrison met with Berkovitz at a luxury restaurant in October last year, while the SEC and CFTC were debating the appropriate techniques for regulating cryptocurrencies. Berkovitz's attendance at the dinner demonstrates SBF's efforts to influence lawmakers and regulators.

According to reports, SBF was the Democratic Party's second highest donor in the 2021-2022 election cycle, trailing only billionaire George Soros, donating $39,884,256 to Democrats. Elon Musk has even stated that he could have given Democrats up to $1 billion.

SBF also stated in early November that he has donated millions of dollars to bipartisan lawmakers in an effort to entice more crypto sympathisers in the run-up to the 2024 United States presidential election.

Following the demise of FTX, the crypto CEO was arrested in The Bahamas earlier this month when US authorities formally charged him. He was extradited to the United States last week to face a slew of criminal allegations.

SBF was indicted on eight criminal offences, including wire fraud and conspiracy to misappropriate customer funds, by the Southern District of New York, which is investigating Bankman-Fried and the collapse of FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda. SBF was also charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with "orchestrating a conspiracy to defraud equity investors in FTX."

Last week, Bankman-Fried was released from jail after posting a $250 million bond in a New York court. He is currently being held under house arrest at the Bankman-Fried family's Palo Alto home.



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