Demise of Bankman-Fried Is Dragging Down Parents, Too

Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried taught for years at Stanford Law
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2022 11:13 AM CST
Demise of Bankman-Fried Is Dragging Down Parents, Too
The FTX Arena logo is seen in Miami.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File)

The last month has brought a stunning reversal of fortune for 30-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried. And as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal report, his renowned parents are very much caught up in the downward spiral. SBF, of course, is the former CEO of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX who now faces criminal charges and SEC charges that could land him in prison for 115 years, reports the AP. His father is 67-year-old Joseph Bankman, a longtime tax professor at Stanford Law School, and is mother is 71-year-old Barbara Fried, who retired this year after decades as a Stanford Law professor herself but remained active as head of the charity group Mind the Gap. Now, however, both their "careers have been upended," per the Times.

The couple has told friends that their son's legal bills—his multibillion fortune has been wiped out amid the scandal—might ruin them financially, per the Journal. "We hope this gives us some wisdom," friends quoted Joseph Bankman as saying. "Otherwise, it would be too hard to take." Joseph Bankman actually worked for his son's company for nearly a year and advised him on legal and tax matters. Barbara Fried didn't work for FTX, but the company was one of the donors to organizations recommended by Mind the Gap. She resigned last month as chairwoman of the group's board. Both are currently in the Bahamas with their son, who has been arrested and is facing extradition to the US.

SBF's parents haven't been charged with any wrongdoing, and their son said in a recent interview that they "weren't involved in any of the relevant parts" of his business, per the Times. "None of them were involved in FTX balances or risk management or anything like that," he said. Still, the lives of the couple famous for their Sunday dinners with friends and colleagues have taken a sharp downturn. "I had a friend who said, 'You don't want to be seen with them,'" Larry Kramer, a former dean of the law school and a family friend, tells the Times. "I don't see how this doesn't bankrupt them." (More Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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