No evidence FTX is laundering Ukraine’s aid to Democrats
Crypto exchange FTX has helped with a fundraising site for Ukraine. But there is no evidence that US aid funds have been laundered back to Democratic lawmakers.
FTX, a platform that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrency, has made headlines in recent weeks after suffering billions of dollars in losses and filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company and its founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, are under investigation for allegedly investing depositors’ funds in companies without their consent.
Now, viral claims in circulation on social media claim that FTX laundered US government aid funds that were sent back to Ukraine to Democratic lawmakers.
Many of the posts claim that Ukraine invested US aid money in FTX instead. Then the posts claim FTX returned that money to Democratic lawmakers in an alleged money laundering scheme.
Did FTX launder US aid money sent to Ukraine back to Democratic lawmakers?
No, there is no evidence that FTX laundered US aid funds sent back to Ukraine to Democratic lawmakers.
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There is a connection between donations to Ukraine and FTX. But Ukraine did not invest in FTX, and US aid to the country could not be used for money laundering schemes claimed on social media, government agencies and cryptocurrency firms other than FTX say.
The claims stem from a fundraiser that began in March.
A website for the fundraising foundation in March 2022 Help for Ukrainewhich raised virtual cryptocurrency funds for Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs, officially started.
On March 11 the National Bank of Ukraine Approved that more than $1 million, raised by donations from individuals to Aid for Ukraine, had already been transferred to the bank’s account.
These donations are separate from the tens of billions of dollars in US government aid that has already been sent to Ukraine.
More from VERIFY: Yes, the US has pledged the most aid to Ukraine of any country
FTX supported the transfer process for less than a month.
Aid for Ukraine used FTX to convert cryptocurrency donations into Ukrainian government-backed fiat currency in the early days of March 2022, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation told VERIFY.
The cryptocurrency funds were not stored on FTX, according to a tweet by Everstake, a company that powers the technology behind cryptocurrency and helped run Aid for Ukraine.
Also, FTX was not the main fundraising platform. Aid to Ukraine was backed by cryptocurrency exchanges Kuna and Everstake, the ministry said.
“FTX should provide a fiat exit for converting crypto donations, and Kuna would send crypto there to get cash and pay for needed equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the ministry spokesman wrote in an email . “Aid For Ukraine stopped using FTX as of April 2022. Now their collaboration is completely over.”
The ministry said it “never had a direct relationship with FTX” and only “provided informational support” to Aid for Ukraine.
More from VERIFY: Fact Sheet: 6 ways to check if a social media account asking for donations to Ukraine is a scam
A key part of the viral claim is that Ukraine invested US government aid money back into FTX, which then allegedly “laundered” the money to Democrats.
But the ministry has never invested funds in FTX, and neither have other ministries in Ukraine, said the spokesman for the country’s Ministry of Digital Transformation.
It is true that FTX founder Bankman-Fried has made large donations to Democratic lawmakers as some of the social media posts claim, Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filings. Show. But he has also donated to a handful of Republican candidates.
A US State Department spokesman told VERIFY it had “no reason to believe” that the reports being laundered to Democrats about US aid to Ukraine were “anything but mere untruths and misinformation.”
According to the State Department, direct US aid to Ukraine will be channeled through the World Bank to Ukraine’s Treasury Department.
“There are arrangements and monitoring mechanisms in place to ensure US funds are used for verified purposes [government of Ukraine] Costs; The types of expenditures for which U.S. funds can be used are specifically listed in these agreements,” the spokesman said.
A spokesman for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a government agency responsible for managing foreign aid, also said direct aid to Ukraine “cannot be used for the alleged programs.”
“Robust safeguards implemented by the World Bank, coupled with expert third-party surveillance support (funded by USAID) embedded in the Ukrainian government, ensure accountability and transparency in the use of these funds,” the spokesman wrote in an emailed one Explanation.
FTX has not responded to a request for comment as of publication.
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