The New York Metropolitan Museum is set to return over half a million dollars donated by bankrupt crypto exchange FTX in March and May of 2022.
Court documents noted that the Museum will return the FTX donations in full and without further litigation.
Commentators believe the move is meant to distance the museum from the FTX debacle and possible legal implications.
The crypto exchange is also making efforts to claw back funds donated to entities and political candidates while founder Sam Bankman-Fried controlled the once multi-billion dollar crypto empire.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is set to return $550,000 in donations it received in March and May last year from FTX’s U.S. entity West Realm Shires Services, court documents show.
Under founder Sam Bankman-Fried, the bankruptcy crypto exchange donated millions of dollars to firms, entities, and political candidates through a system of affiliates.
The Met’s decision to return the funds is part of a larger effort to distance itself from the controversy surrounding FTX. The move has been praised by some as a demonstration of the museum’s commitment to ethical fundraising practices. However, others have criticized the decision, arguing that it sets a potentially problematic precedent for other cultural institutions.
This is not the first time that the Met has returned donations. In 2018, the museum returned a $1 million donation from the Sackler family, who were involved in the production of OxyContin.
FTX Donation Headache
The bankruptcy estate made efforts to recover donations made to political candidates and other donors after taking over in November last year. While it’s unclear if and how these donations might be returned, charges against Bankman-Fried like fraud and campaign finance violation indicate a need for donors to assess the funds they received from FTX.
FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried is awaiting trial on 13 counts including defrauding customers and investors. SBF pleaded “not guilty” to most of the charges while other former execs like Caroline Ellison and Nishad Singh tried to reach plea deals with federal prosecutors.
SBF is under home arrest on a $250 million bail bond pending trial proceedings this October.
In other news, the U.S. Justice Department Trustee branch is pushing for a court-appointed independent examiner to dig into FTX’s books and file a report like in the case of Celsius.