MacKenzie Sigalos writes via CNBC: Sam Bankman-Fried, the alleged crypto criminal who stands accused of masterminding one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history, was considering paying Donald Trump $5 billion not to run for president, according to best-selling author Michael Lewis. In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, Lewis said the FTX founder wanted to put a stop to a Trump White House run in 2024 over fears that the former president was a threat to democracy. Lewis traces the rise and fall of the crypto entrepreneur in his latest book, “Going Infinite,” which comes out on Tuesday, the same day Bankman-Fried’s first criminal trial gets underway in New York.
“Sam’s thinking, ‘We could pay Donald Trump not to run for president. Like, how much would it take?'” Lewis said. “He did get an answer. He was floated — there was a number that was kicking around. And the number that was kicking around when I was talking to Sam about this was $5 billion. Sam was not sure that number came directly from Trump.” According to Lewis, Bankman-Fried’s ambition to derail Trump’s presidential campaign ultimately went nowhere, in part because he wasn’t sure if his proposal was legal. Also, his crypto empire imploded in November 2022, wiping out Bankman-Fried’s billions of dollars of wealth.