The General Counsel of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced his intention to leave the agency in January.
According to a Dec. 22 Washington Examiner report, SEC General Counsel Dan Berkovitz announced his departure from the agency on January 31.
According to the report, the government official had previously “wined and dined” with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and his lobbyists.
“It is time for me to pursue new and different challenges and opportunities after thirty-four years of public service,” Berkovitz said. Berkovitz is also a former Commodity Futures Trading Commission commissioner (CFTC).
In addition, his announcement comes on the same day that SBF was granted bail in the amount of $250 million.
Berkovitz had a “cozy relationship” with SBF and FTX, according to the Examiner. It cited emails obtained by the watchdog Protect the Public Trust, which reported on the resignation as well.
According to the report, SBF, FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller, and FTX President Brett Harrison met with Berkovitz in a luxury restaurant in October 2021.
“If ever there was 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,” Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, said.
“Not long before its demise and a slew of fraud charges, SBF and his gang were no doubt courting one of their would-be regulators to try to manipulate the regulations to their advantage,” he added.
Republican Senator Tom Emmer also mentioned several meetings between the SEC and FTX. He stated that they were developing a unique regulatory framework to benefit FTX.
In addition, in response to SEC chair Gary Gensler’s remarks about using every tool at his disposal to enforce compliance, he stated, “Making backroom regulatory deals with bad actors is not a tool in the SEC’s toolbox.”
“While the collapse of FTX and the behavior of its executives has certainly made a lot of news,” Chamberlain continued, “the actions of federal officials should also be under scrutiny.”
Gary Gensler also met with SBF about eight months before the collapse of his crypto empire. They discussed the concept of a new SEC-approved crypto trading platform during the meeting. If approved, SBF and his companies would have a significant competitive advantage.
Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Ritchie Torres blamed Gensler for the FTX demise. “When it comes to FTX, Chair Gensler fundamentally failed as a regulator, and he bears sole responsibility,” he said at the time.
The rabbit hole of deception is even deeper. According to BeInCrypto, anti-crypto Senator Elizabeth Warren had ties to the Bankman-Fried family as well.