Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the failed crypto exchange FTX, looked into paying Donald Trump $5 billion not to run for the presidency, Michael Lewis claimed.
Lewis, acclaimed author of “The Big Short” and “Flash Boys,” made the claim in a CBS interview that aired Sunday.
“So he did get an answer… There was a number that was kicking around. And the number that was kicking around when I was talking to Sam about this was $5 billion,” Lewis said.
Lewis added that Bankman-Fried was also investigating whether such a payment would be legal. “The question Sam had was not just, ‘Is $5 billion enough to pay Trump not to run,’ but ‘Was it legal?’” he said.
Mark Botnick, a spokesperson for Bankman-Fried, declined to comment on the potential payment.
Prior to FTX’s collapse, Bankman-Fried was as an active political donor. Federal prosecutors have reportedly probed his donations to both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.
Bankman-Fried could face over 100 years in prison if convicted on an array of charges including fraud in his upcoming trial, which is set to begin on Tuesday.
Disclaimer: The former CEO and majority shareholder of The Block has disclosed a series of loans from former FTX and Alameda founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
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