The General Counsel of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that he will leave the agency in January.
SEC General Counsel Dan Berkovitz said he would leave the bureau Jan. 31, according to a Dec. 22 report from the Washington Examiner.
The government official had previously “dined” with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and his lobbyists, it added.
“After thirty-four years of public service, it is time for me to take on new and different challenges and opportunities,” Berkovitz said. In addition, Berkovitz is a former commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
In addition, his announcement comes on the same day that SBF was awarded $250 million bail.
SEC’s backroom deals with bad actors
The examiner revealed that Berkovitz had a “cozy relationship” with SBF and FTX. It cited emails obtained by watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust, which also reported on the firing.
SBF, FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller and FTX President Brett Harrison met with Berkovitz in October 2021 at an upscale restaurant, it reported.
Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, said:
“If there were ever a scene to evoke a vision of a DC rigged to corrupt insiders at the expense of the little guy, it would be hard to top,”
“Not long before the collapse and a series of fraud charges, SBF and his gang were undoubtedly courting one of their would-be regulators to try and manipulate the rules in their favor,” he added.
Republican Senator Tom Emmer also alluded to multiple meetings between the SEC and FTX. He said they were creating a special regulatory framework to benefit FTX.
In addition, referring to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler’s comments about using every tool available to enforce compliance, he said:
“Making regulatory deals in backrooms with bad actors is not a tool in the SEC’s toolbox.”
Federal regulators responsible
Chamberlain went on to argue that government officials and regulators should also be held accountable:
“While the collapse of FTX and the behavior of its executives certainly made a lot of news, the actions of federal officials should also be scrutinized.”
Gary Gensler also met with SBF about eight months before his crypto empire collapsed. At the meeting, they discussed the concept of a new SEC-approved crypto trading platform. If approved, SBF and its companies would have a clear advantage over their competitors.
Earlier this month, Democratic Representative Ritchie Torres blamed Gensler for the collapse of the FTX. “When it comes to FTX, Chairman Gensler has fundamentally failed as a regulator, and he has no one to blame but himself,” he stated at the time.
The maze of deception goes even deeper. As reported by BeInCrypto, anti-crypto senator Elizabeth Warren also had ties to the Bankman-Fried family.
BeInCrypto has reached out to the company or individual involved in the story to get an official statement on recent developments, but it has not yet heard back.