The Community Chest (ComChest), the philanthropic arm of the National Council of Social Service, is making efforts to refund a $360,000 donation it received in 2022 from FTX Foundation, the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX’s philanthropic arm. This decision comes in light of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried facing charges for orchestrating a scheme to embezzle up to US$10 billion from FTX clients.
ComChest has taken formal steps by filing a suspicious transaction report with the police and expressing its intention to return the donated amount through appropriate legal channels. The donation, initially made in support of the President’s Challenge and ComChest through the Sentosa Golden Jubilee Charity Golf event in August 2022, will be processed in adherence to legal protocols, according to a ComChest spokesman.
The donation amount was large enough for FTX to be considered a diamond sponsor.
Before the collapse of FTX, Bankman-Fried and associates, including FTX Foundation, were notable contributors to philanthropic causes, reportedly donating close to US$200 million to various political and charitable initiatives. However, the FTX collapse in November 2022 led to a cryptocurrency equivalent of a bank run, resulting in a liquidity crisis and bankruptcy declaration.
Bankman-Fried, currently on trial in New York City since early October, faces charges of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering, pleading not guilty to seven counts. Prosecutors allege that funds embezzled from FTX clients were diverted for luxury property purchases, political contributions, supporting Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, and other purposes.
In a separate development, ComChest and the President’s Challenge have disclosed receiving donations from individuals linked to Singapore’s largest money laundering case. ComChest received $30,000, and the President’s Challenge received over $350,000. Both organisations have filed police reports and suspicious transaction reports and are collaborating with the Commissioner of Charities to determine the appropriate handling of these donations.