Robinhood bought back Sam Bankman-Fried’s stake from US govt for 6M

Cryptocurrency and stock trading platform Robinhood has announced the purchase of more than 55 million shares of the firm previously held by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, also known as SBF.

According to an Aug. 31 blog post, Robinhood completed a purchase of 55,273,469 shares for roughly $606 million following a filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The shares, originally held by Bankman-Fried and FTX co-founder Gary Wang through Emergent Fidelity Technologies, were seized in January by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The purchase had been expected. Robinhood’s board of directors announced the approval of the deal in the company’s Q4 2022 report, and an Aug. 30 SEC filing said the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York had approved the purchase “free and clear of any claims, interests, liens and encumbrances”. Robinhood made the repurchase agreement with the U.S. Marshal Service.

“We are happy to have completed the purchase of these shares and look forward to executing on our growth plans on behalf of our customers and shareholders,” said Robinhood chief financial officer Jason Warnick.

Emergent Fidelity Technologies, Bankman-Fried’s holding company, filed for bankruptcy in February. The company had already been a target of crypto lending firm BlockFi — which filed for bankruptcy following the collapse of FTX — over the 55 million Robinhood shares pledged as collateral. 

Related: Sam Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argue previous FTX legal team led him to act ‘in good faith’

Amid FTX’s own bankruptcy proceedings, SBF, BlockFi, and FTX creditor Yonathan Ben Shimon had been fighting legal battles over ownership of the roughly $600 million in Robinhood shares. Bankman-Fried’s legal team argued the former FTX CEO had a claim to the assets to pay for his criminal defense. Currently remanded to jail following a judge revoking his bail on Aug. 11, Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in court for his first trial starting on Oct. 3.

The price of Robinhood shares on Nasdaq increased roughly 4% following the purchase, from $10.85 to $11.34 at the time of publication. Crypto sleuths recently revealed that the firm was the owner of the fifth-largest Ether (ETH) wallet, worth more than $2.5 billion.

Magazine: Get your money back: The weird world of crypto litigation