Australian political parties received donations from FTX

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) and other FTX executives were major US political donors. But they were also active internationally, with one related Australian entity making $27,540 in donations in the 2021-2022 cycle according to Annual Returns published by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

In August 2020, Alameda Research purchased over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk HiveEx from founders Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. SBF was immediately made director of the entity according to corporate documents reviewed by Protos. FTX then announced that it would be using HiveEx and its owner Alameda Research as a banking conduit for Australian dollar deposits and withdrawals.

Eventually, ownership of this entity would be transferred from Alameda Research to FTX Australia for a de minimis amount.

In the 2021-2022 Australian election cycle, the HiveEx corporate entity Hive Empire PTY LTD made a series of political donations.

To the Liberal Party of Australia, NSW Division, it donated:

  • $12,000 on December 12, 2021.
  • $5,760 on March 17, 2022.

To the Australian Labor Party, NSW Branch, it donated:

  • $1,500 on April 19, 2022.

To the Australian Labor Party, it donated:

  • $2,400 on April 15, 2022.

Read more: Australian regulators investigated FTX before collapse

Four months before HiveEx began making these donations, co-founder Fred Schebesta submitted his recommendation to the Australian ‘Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre’ that the Australian government should provide deposit insurance for cryptocurrencies.

HiveEx was among the FTX entities that filed for bankruptcy.

Australian regulators began reviewing FTX in March 2022 after learning about the products it intended to offer in the country. It continued to surveil FTX until its collapse.

Sam Bankman-Fried has plead not guilty to eight criminal charges in the United States, including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to break campaign finance laws.

Protos has reached out to the Liberal Party of Australia NSW Division, Australian Labor Party national office, and Australian Labor Party NSW branch with questions about their relationships with SBF and FTX. We also asked if they intend to do anything with the donations.

We will update this story if and when we hear back.

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