Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX loaned $28.4 million to a Bahamian aircraft company to buy two private jets, according to a motion filed Thursday in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court.
The aircraft are a Bombardier Global 5000 and an Embraer ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600, which the lawsuit says cost $15.9 million and $12.5 million, respectively.
The former is one of the biggest purpose-built private jets on the market and can be fitted with luxuries like a movie theater and a bedroom. The Embraer is the business version of the popular ERJ-135 commercial plane.
The Bahamian company, Island Air Capital, is seeking relief from an automatic stay which prevents it from operating or selling the jets, following months of discussions with the FTX Debtors and the government.
Alternatively, it asks for liens or protection based on what it says are the millions of dollars it has spent improving and maintaining the planes.
In the court document, IAC says it owns the two planes and they are operated by Trans Island Airways. Paul Aranha, the CEO of TIA, is the beneficial owner of IAC.
Around the same time as the interest-free loan, the court filing says FTX Ventures also signed a term sheet to invest $17 million in TIA, which meant it was poised to become a joint owner of the aviation company.
Photos sent to Insider by a former TIA employee, who asked to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, show the Global painted in TIA’s blue and white livery. It has since been painted white, per a listing for the plane which also shows its luxurious interior.
Two people familiar with the situation told Insider that the Bombardier and Embraer jets were registered under the tail numbers C6-SPR and C6-BDE. They were delivered to TIA in March and August of last year, per the court documents.
One of the people, who has direct knowledge of the jets, told Insider that Bankman-Fried never flew on either plane, but he did make numerous other journeys with TIA.
FTX filed for bankruptcy in November 2022 after Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO. He has pleaded not guilty to seven charges including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
The crypto exchange imploded after a CoinDesk report prompted concerns over its viability and customers rushed to withdraw their deposits, but — partially due to FTX executives’ lavish spending — it couldn’t cover demand.
Thursday’s court filing says IAC received the loan after a “handshake deal” between Aranha and Bankman-Fried. It adds that Aranha repaid the loan into an FTX customer account, to the tune of more than $11 million.
“Based on information and belief, Mr. Aranha is one of the largest Bahamian victims of SBF’s cryptocurrency fraud,” the filing says.
Following FTX’s implosion, Aranha tried to sell the Global to help repay the loan because there was no business case to keep it, per the filing. The court document says IAC received multiple offers over $15 million, before the US Marshals Service seized it in February. The Global has been parked at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut since late January.
The court filing says that the FTX Debtors, who are handling the bankruptcy case to repay customers, have held multiple discussions with Aranha since last December.
It adds that Aranha and IAC requested a three-way settlement conference with the government and the FTX Debtors “given the ever-increasing costs associated with the aircraft,” but the debtors ignored the request.
It wasn’t until August 7 that the FTX Debtors claimed ownership of the planes, the filing says. Insider previously reached out to the Debtors’ spokespeople about the Bombardier and Global in mid-July, and they declined to comment. They also declined to comment Friday.
A spokesperson for Sam Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
This is not the first time FTX Debtors have tried to get back assets.
In September, it started looking into getting millions back in sponsorships it paid out for celebrities like Shaquille O’Neal, Stephen Curry, and Naomi Osaka.
And on Monday, it accused Bankman-Fried’s parents of siphoning millions of dollars from the company.
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