The U.S. and Bahamian governments are jockeying to oversee the bankruptcy of crypto exchange FTX — and its trove of real estate holdings — following the arrest Monday of Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas.

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The government of the Bahamas is seeking to wrest a bankruptcy case from the U.S. which will determine the fate of more than a quarter-billion dollars worth of real estate owned by FTX in the island-chain nation.

The collapsing crypto trading platform’s executives, Sam Bankman-Fried and Ryan Salame, spent $256 million to purchase and maintain nearly three-dozen properties in the Bahamas, lawyers for the government argued in a Monday filing.

The filing represents one of the first public windows into the real estate holdings of FTX, whose property subsidiary made 15 such purchases totaling $143 million, according to a CNBC report.

And because all these properties are in the Bahamas, the country is now arguing in court that U.S. Chapter 11 proceedings should end and be handed over to them instead. “Bahamian law does not allow recognition of a foreign insolvency proceeding for a Bahamian company,” the filing states.

The real estate spending alleged by the Bahamas includes $25 million in the company’s current headquarters building, plus a new headquarters project on which FTX had begun construction, but has since been abandoned.

The spending also includes $30 million spent on not one, but two luxury apartments, plus a third residence they spent $21 million on, the report states.

As the two nations wrangle over who will handle the FTX bankruptcy proceedings, Bankman-Fried awaits trial in jail in the Bahamas. He was arrested Monday on eight criminal charges, including lying to investors, wire fraud and conspiring to defraud the United States.

The crypto firm filed for bankruptcy last month after its the financial practices of an affiliated hedge fund, Alameda Research, came under scrutiny. Another crypto trading platform, Binance, made a move to save FTX, but backed out of the deal after reviewing its financial condition. 

CNBC reports that lawyers for FTX are expected to oppose the Bahamian efforts to move the proceedings outside the U.S. The company’s new leadership is navigating demands from creditors and clients while it attempts to restructure under the oversight of federal bankruptcy courts.

Email Daniel Houston

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