The General Counsel for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that he will depart the agency in January.
SEC General Counsel Dan Berkovitz said that he was leaving the agency on January 31, according to a Dec. 22 report by the Washington Examiner.
The government official had previously “wined and 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 pursue new and different challenges and opportunities,” Berkovitz said. Additionally, Berkovitz is a former commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Furthermore, his announcement comes on the same day that SBF was granted bail for $250 million.
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 the watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust, which also reported on the resignation.
SBF, FTX General Counsel Ryne Miller, and FTX President Brett Harrison met with Berkovitz at a luxury restaurant in Oct. 2021, it reported.
Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public’s Trust, said:
“If ever there were 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,”
“Not long before its collapse and a raft of fraud charges, SBF and his gang were wooing one of their would-be regulators no doubt to try to manipulate the regulations to their advantage,” he added.
Republican Senator Tom Emmer also alluded to multiple meetings between the SEC and FTX, He said that they were crafting a special regulatory framework to benefit FTX.
Additionally, in reference to SEC chair Gary Gensler’s comments about using every tool available to enforce compliance, he said:
“Making backroom regulatory deals with bad actors is not a tool in the SEC’s toolbox.”
Federal Regulators Responsible
Chamberlain went on to state that government officials and regulators should also be held accountable:
“While the collapse of FTX and the behavior of its executives has certainly made a lot of news, the actions of federal officials should also be under scrutiny.”
Gary Gensler also met with SBF around eight months before his crypto empire crumbled. At the meeting, they discussed the concept of a new SEC-approved crypto trading platform. If approved, SBF and his companies would have a clear advantage over its competitors.
Earlier this month, Democrat Representative Ritchie Torres blamed Gensler for the FTX collapse. “When it comes to FTX, Chair Gensler fundamentally failed as a regulator, and he has no one but himself to blame,” he stated at the time.
The rabbit warren of deception goes deeper still. As reported by BeInCrypto, anti-crypto Senator Elizabeth Warren also had ties with the Bankman-Fried family.