Beleaguered FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has reportedly tapped a key member of convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell’s legal team to represent him following the collapse of his cryptocurrency empire.
Bankman-Fried hired Mark S. Cohen, a managing partner and co-founder of the Cohen & Gresser law firm in New York, Reuters reported, citing a message from the former FTX boss’s spokesperson Mark Botnick.
A former assistant US attorney, Cohen was part of a team that defended Maxwell, the longtime companion of the late convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. In June, Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for helping Epstein abuse underage girls.
During a Twitter Spaces appearance on Tuesday, Bankman-Fried reportedly said his hiring of Cohen was “going on advice of counsel and people who are able to understand the situation and the context,” according to Bloomberg.
It’s unclear how Bankman-Fried plans to pay for a high-profile attorney like Cohen as he forms his legal team. The FTX founder’s net worth went from $16 billion to zero in a matter of days when FTX failed.
Bankman-Fried claims to be down to his last $100,000 – and recently asserted he wasn’t sure how he’d pay for his lawyers.
“That’s something I’m trying to figure out right now,” Bankman-Fried said during another Twitter Spaces appearance last week.
Bankman-Fried can turn to his own family for legal advice. His parents, Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, are both law professors at Stanford University. He is also being advised by David W. Mills, another celebrity attorney and Stanford professor, according to multiple reports.
While Bankman-Fried has yet to be charged with any crime, the disgraced ex-billionaire faces mounting legal and regulatory scrutiny over his role in FTX’s meltdown.
Federal prosecutors are already reportedly investigating the circumstances that led to the company’s collapse and what happened to billions of dollars that disappeared from its balance sheets.
In November, Bankman-Fried was named alongside FTX’s celebrity backers, including NFL legend Tom Brady and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David, in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of cryptocurrency who lost money on the platform.
Bankman-Fried is also drawing notice from members of Congress. Earlier this week, he vowed to testify before the House Financial Services Committee about FTX’s bankruptcy – though he did not commit to a specific date.