Sam Bankman-Fried’s brother planned to buy island and prep for apocalypse: court filing

Gabriel Bankman-Fried, the brother of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, had a plan to survive a global catastrophe using funds from the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange.

According to a July 20 filing with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, Gabriel planned to purchase the island nation of Nauru in the Pacific using allegedly misappropriated funds through the FTX Foundation. Projects with the charity “that served little purpose other than to enhance the public stature of Defendants,” according to court documents, included a $300,000 book grant on “humans’ utility function” as well as a $400,000 grant to a YouTuber.

However, one of Gabriel’s plans included preparing for a potential apocalypse by purchasing Nauru, an island northeast of Australia with a population of roughly 12,000 as of 2023. According to a memo between Gabriel and an unnamed officer of the FTX Foundation, he planned to establish a bunker to get through “some event where 50%-99.99% of people die [to] ensure that most EAs [effective altruists] survive” and build a lab focused on “human genetic enhancement.”

“Probably there are other things it’s useful to do with a sovereign country, too,” said the memo, referring to the planned acquisition.

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Prior to FTX’s downfall in November 2022, Gabriel had founded Guarding Against Pandemics, a nonprofit organization aimed at preparing for the next COVID-19. He reportedly stepped down from his position as executive director of the organization amid the crypto exchange’s bankruptcy.

Sam Bankman-Fried’s first criminal trial in the U.S. has been scheduled for Oct. 2, where he faces charges including fraud related to the commingling of funds between FTX and Alameda Research. It’s unclear whether Gabriel will offer testimony against his brother, but debtors in the FTX bankruptcy case have considered subpoenaing him to provide information on any financial benefits he may have received from the exchange.

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