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FTX Crypto's Unanswered Questions:
By Yoichi Shimatsu
A pair of binary stars spin in a furious pirouette around the moons of a red giant star that threatens to swallow them into its ponderous mass, but instead by its gravitational thrust are flung wildly to reach escape velocity into emptiness where the only perceptible force is their own calm rotation along a spiral dance in the total darkness of immeasurable space-time. Spat out in a rebirthing moment their dance quickens during accelerating passage avoiding wobbly asteroids unheeding the passage of the transient entangled duo. Nearing light speed as space-time itself bends, the twirling duo hurtle past tiny stars, globules of brilliant blue fire, and then curve to resist the magnetic field of a gas giant whose hot ejections loosens their intertwining as they drift apart into descent without atmospheric resistance an asteroid belt, a string of pearls, hidden within a dense haze. Astronomers who spotted their near-collision with Earth search the skies in vain for their present location.
Lost in the space-time matrix
Unexpectedly, the FTX cryptocurrency saga put to recently put to rest has suddenly revived with the reawakening of memories from my sojourn in China, just prior to the coronavirus outbreak and return to the U.S. The previous year to the CoV outbreak in Wuhan was a hectic time of disruptions caused by the start of a massive economic slowdown and military exercises along the Fujian coast that diverted passenger trains, with schedules delayed by looping inland. My preparations to resettle on the far edge of Hong Kong across the bay bridge from China’s big tech companies was terminated by the death of an old friend, a legendary manager of Hong Kong’s most popular television studio. An alignment of stars in favor of cafe-studio-news center went haywire as if by some cosmic premonition, forcing me to return to the USA to wait out the disruptions, or perhaps never to return to Asia.
Those were not the best of times in the Sino-sphere, not after the crushing of the democracy protests and the widening of recession, yet that’s exactly the unopportune moment when Sam Bankman-Fried and his biz partner Gary Wang decided to establish FTX in Hong Kong. Certainly, there was a base of disaffected wealthy liberals who needed to move their personal funds to the safety of a financial haven far from the reach of the Beijing leadership, but even that rich vein of lucre could not account for the 4 billion dollars (U.S.) soon deposited in cryptocurrency accounts at FTX. There was another source of cash flows that eluded the financial analysts, a secret channel of funds between mainland China and via FTX, moving into the USA, in the months prior to the 2019 presidential elections, arranged by that man of mystery roaming the hinterlands of China, Hunter Biden, a “freelance” businessman formerly associated with Rosemont Seneca Partners Inc.
Looking backward during the hiatus of the M.L. King holiday, a string of memories, seemingly random, flashed across my inner eye, similar to how cards flipped over by a dealer inexplicably align into a full house in one’s hand. Suddenly, I could comprehend why FTX was created when the U.S. presidential elections were around the corner, when the feminist icon Hillary was out of the picture, and vast uncertainly surrounded a Democrat politician as corrupt as Joe Biden, hounded by disturbing connections with the Chinese communist party. Money, lots of money was required to buy votes of slack demoralized Democrats, extend the vote to non-citizens, create ballots for nonexistent voters and hire the key personnel to do the midnight job of ballot dumping and fake ballot delivery at post offices. Fix The X on the ballots, that was a mission that required multi-millions in untraceable cash, even billions. Where did it all come from and how?
A Nanjing Revival
I remember the very moment that our indy online news agency closed down. With the handful of remaining staffers, I helped move out computer terminals, videocams and a couple of swivel chairs onto a waiting truck outside and swept the floor with a broom. Then the young fellow who had initiate this early indy news service during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, to massive popular acclaim as a youth-run media service (youngsters except for me, their senior journalism advisor), locked the door and slipped the key into the management’s mail box.
For me, there was no reasons for grief at loss, since the news service had, in the nick of time, been invited to set up an office in Nanjing, my destination on the overnight train out of Beijing central station. Aboard the rattling express, I pondered the gradual crackdown on something like 20,000 indy news sites for good reasons and then concocted offenses, leaving our news group among the last 200 at the end of the rope. In that regard, of media survival, being outside the Third Ring Road of the capital had its advantages against censorship, as in sight unseen, hidden in-between.
After disappointment in Beijing, I was pleasantly ensconced in the ancient capital of Nanjing, where the enigmatic Parthian sage Bodhidharma founded Zen Buddhism and also devised the nonlethal defensive martial art of kung-fu. On the dark side, especially for a person of Japanese ancestry, the then-capital was the site of the controversy-plagued Nanjing Massacre during the brutal imperial invasion of China.
Apart from that grim chapter of history, what is it like there? Redolent of Paris in the 1920s, a movable feast of past and future spread along the banks of the Yangtze River whose watery fingers wind though the city’s canals, a contrast of exuberant creation against memories of horrific destruction, where shoppers move along the sidewalks with a step of enthusiasm, a subtle cuisine based on roast red duck and pure white mild-tasting river-fish mulled in yellow wine, and just a lingering hint of decadence as the historical site of the quintessential exoticism of “Dream of the Red Chamber”, that recollection of life and love within an extended family of imperial silk weavers tempted by incestuous longings and facing ruin from official corruption.
The new office with floor-to-ceiling windows and a wood floor was in a tiny industrial park near the student quarters on the city outskirts, near the rooftop bar where I could hold court with old buddies and new friends. While waiting for the rest of the staff to arrive I made a magazine rack out of cast-off paper tubes for the N.Y. Review of Books and the London Times literary supplement, and placed indoor plants in a sunny corner. Down below, mother ducks were raising chicks in a flood zone.
Getting around on a bicycle was easy on wide boulevards around the flat plain surrounding the forested Purple Mountain where the nation’s first president Dr. Sun Yat-Sen is entombed, perfect for weekend hiking and a vegetarian lunch at one of the ancient Buddhist temples. But there was always for me the hovering dark shadow of the Massacre, which I learned on site to be not smaller than claimed (as Japanese rightists would have it) but astoundingly greater and wider in that grim winter of 1937-38 than reported even by the Chinese government. But that’s a tale for another day. On the northern curve of the Yangtse, I did try to discover if there was any possibility of escape up the slick steep rock cliff where the worst mass-killing occurred and just barely made it to the top by clinging to tree roots, an impossible feat on an icy winter’s day for a parent with a baby on her back. It was a perfect killing field where bullets ricocheted off the smooth rock face to save on ammo, Japanese efficiency as usual.
Nanjing suffered six near-total massacres in a record of depopulation harsher than any other city in the world, including Rome and Jerusalem. Against these horrors against Asia and arguably the world’s most civilized city, the corruption and criminality of the family Biden is an inconsequential footnote, a nere warning against venality or, as my monastic Basque Catholic teachers would have put it, sinfulness barely sufficient for admission to Hell. Joe Biden does not match up to a Franco or a Tojo but only a crooked minor league madman. The petty criminality of his extended family, especially No.2 son Hunter, was apparent at a local bank where I tried to covert dollars to yuan to pay the gas bill. House flies are also a minor annoyance, especially when hovering over one’s soup bowl, so they must be swatted like the irritatingly hypocritical Bidens. We are civilized, after all, and in China slurp the soup with gusto in honor of the chef’s fine artisanship.
The Exchange Rate
I passed some Hong Kong dollars to the teller at a local bank for sufficient yuan to pay the gas bill at our 23rd floor “dorm”, a spacious 3-bedroom apartment conveniently located with a 10-minute bicycle ride to the news office over a bridge where locals had planted green vegetables on its banks and a riot of flowering shrubs bloomed in spring. The Chinese-language editor, who had come back from university in Britain, was again away at his parent’s home in Shanghai or, unbeknownst to any of the staff, rabble-rousing students and factory workers in the interest of democracy, a gay hero and adoptive nephew of Leon Trotsky, the icon of the British Labour Party. Students in Nanjing, at least those who showed up for media internships, were astoundingly apolitical, their interests being in other challenges in life such as literature, soccer and caring for their aging parents. After the arrest of many of the male student leaders, the now grown-up women led the recent mass protests against the extended COVID lockdown.
So after filling out the application at the bank counter, I sat down and waited for 3 hours to exchange 35 dollars U.S. for a few 100 RMB notes. That was after having my passport photocopied and fingerprints taken. Gas must be a precious commodity, I figured, worth the price of diamonds. Then, with apologies, a female clerk walked over and delivered the local cash and turned to scoot back behind the counter, as it was a few minutes past closing time without explaining the delay.
The guys at the gas company were friendly enough, but on the next day I was summoned to the district police department to inquire why I hadn’t registered as a foreigner. My response was that I assumed my registration in Beijing, the capital, covered the entire country. Wrong. So again, fingerprints, facial photo, and to my surprise I did not have to pull my pants down like at the U.S. military draft board. Not being a cigarette smoker, I don’t suffer stress, since I did have time to waste.
Luckily I had registered properly because on the weekend an American friend visited from Shenzhen, where he worked as biz consultant and his two half-Chinese kids were enrolled in primary school. So aboard bicycles, we pedal-pushed off to the hangout, a British-style pub with a view of the student quarters. “So why are the banks and cops so damned uptight lately, here of all places?” I asked, being out of the loop.
His answer was that more than $2,000 of his money en route to Hong Kong had been impounded, and the same was happening to many of his foreigner acquaintances. My journalist’s rejoinder was: “So what’s the scuttlebutt, what’s it all about, Alfie?” He leaned forward over his mug to whisper: “The rumor among the high muckety-mucks is that a ring of foreigners and their trusted local employees, some 200 people, have moved hundreds of millions of yuan out of Beijing and Shanghai to Hong Kong. Nanjing was one of the last loopholes but now I guess it’s closed tight from what you’re saying.”
Calmly, I ask, “So what’s all the money for? Why not go though the banking system? The guys with spare cash can do transfers under the guise of business costs to their offshore companies.”
“Well, that’s the mystery since it’s not business-related or investment funds headed to the Hong Kong stock exchange, which can be done by transfer through the Bank of China or the Industrial Bank. Macau’s been shut down ever since Sheldon Adelson’s Sands casino got a slap on the wrist for funneling illegal contributions to Mitt Romney’s campaign, so I guess that leaves HK.”
That rang a bell. “Oh, yeah, I was hanging out with Wayne Madsen, drinking beer in the stands at the dog-racing track after he blew open that affair. I doubt if the Mormon security men would have allowed him to get to Hong Kong since there’s a lot of water from the Pearl River along the way. The ferry crew might have gotten word of trouble coming, since they put us way up front in the first-class cabin for no extra charge, nice. If it had been Vegas or Reno instead, there’d be a lot a space to dig holes in the desert, eh?” Getting away with it is a primal joy for crooks and investigative journalists on the run.
“Speaking of which,” was the rejoinder from my savvy friend, “D’ya suppose the money is to fix the elections?”
“What elections?” I asked. “Hong Kong is off the map since the student protests were crushed last year.”
“I don’t mean little Hong Kong, dummy. You’re the one who told me about the Chinese campaign funding for Hillary. Another one’s coming up later this year.”
The Democratic Convention was coming up, but I was out of that loop being here not there, or is it the other way around? In any case, it was technically and legally impossible to send or even hold an extraordinary amount of cash at any Hong Kong bank, because of the global rules imposed by the Obama regime known as FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act. Every American citizen working abroad, although the majority are not fatcaTs, is allowed to have a foreign bank account only by compliance, meaning hiring an American business lawyer and an American accounting firm at tax time. My two-man environmental company without any clients other than 14 Tibetan yak-herders making boxes of yak milk for dry mothers and a near-bankrupt trout pond at the far end of the Gobi Desert never came up with enough profits to pay our expenses. It was adventure capitalism with no prospect of becoming a paying venture. How in hell could I afford an overseas American accountant and lawyer? While I was in Nanjing, the HSBC in Hong Kong closed my account and its grand holdings of about $800, which was non-retrievable to my chagrin, since I rarely shout over the phone. Thanks a lot, Barack, IOU or you owe me. We’ll settle at the big barbecue.
Welcome FTX to the Last Crown Colony!
So with the FATCA rules in place, no U.S. linked office in Hong Kong could transfer a few billion bucks to the Democrat candidate in the wings, good old Uncle Joe. Therefore, here’s the punchline, the great revelation, deep insight and fortunetelling: The cryptocurrency outfit FTX arrived just in time to set up shop in Hong Kong. In less than 2 years, several months after the fake ballots were counted for Biden’s electoral victory, the crew at FTX HK packed its bags and fled to the Bahamas. Got that? Now repeat in your own words what was just stated: The FiX was in, thanks to FTX.
My mother along with several of my ex-girlfriends liked to harangue me about the evils of alcohol consumption, as women do since they’d rather spend the money on another new dress. What’s so worthy about paying for warm beer? Without a rambling conversation inside the dark corner of a pub, how in hell would I ever been able to figure out how the no-good bastards did it and why? Booze is in the public interest to protect law and order for the little people who are constantly and repeatedly being lied to and ripped off. If my history lessons were not mistaken, Robin Hood liked his pint of ale.
For the Benefit of Sober Minds
To rephrase what was just stated for those who believe that booze is worse than being a transvestite, here is the political economy in proper English: The creation of FTX by major Democratic Party campaign funders was the means to open a temporary channel for the Biden campaign to secretly receive billions of dollars (for the purpose of vote rigging and voter payoffs) from the Beijing government slush fund and cash contributions from elite Chinese business interests. In the year prior to the 2019 U.S. presidential elections, the older channels for unaccountable fund transfers from Asia to the USA had been cut off by the following factors: first, the legendary investigative journalist Wayne Madsen’s trip to Macau to expose illicit cash shipments by the Sands casino group of Sheldon Adelson via its Mormon security staff to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney; and second, the Obama administration’s FATCA banking law imposed on American citizens living abroad mandating the hiring of an American attorney and U.S. registered accountant to monitor overseas bank accounts.
Given these barriers to free movement of illicit cash from the China realm to the USA to throw the elections, the Biden cabal, particularly his son Hunter who was an “old China hand” aka bagman for his father and the Democrats, had to open an unregulated and non-monitored cash pipeline from Hong Kong to the American Midwest to fund the election tampering and vote-buying in the 2019 presidential campaign against the incumbent Donald Trump. This is why and how FTX was created for this specific task of non-regulated cryptocurrency transfers of large sums of illicit funds “donated” by the Communist Party leadership and various business tycoons to shoehorn their Manchurian Candidate Joe Biden into the White House. Once that task was achieved, done, finished, FTX folded its tent in Hong Kong in less than two years after start-up and moved to The Bermudas for another operation, stealing Ukraine sympathizers’ money to fund Pentagon weapons to the Zelensky gunrunning scame, in serious violation of U.S. treaty law and European banking laws.
Did Hunter Biden get in personal contact with Sam Bankman-Fried or one of his partners? In all likelihood, a meeting of criminal minds in Hong Kong, Macau or offshore in Manila or Bangkok is easy enough for expats and crooks. The connection flows uninterruptedly when considering the fact that SBF’s parents Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman are connected with Mind The Gap, a secretive Democrat superPAC based in Northern California. Plugging into this racket from Nassau, Bahamas, is easy even if breaking up the massive trove into individual donations takes a bit of effort.
The Bahamas connection of Hunter and Sam is another linchpin of their financial partnership. In the same time-frame, year 2020, when FTX moved out of its Pacific Park headquarter in Hong Kong, Hunter Biden and his wife had relocated from Venice (beach), California to parts unknown. The Bahamas (as visible in the only photo of Hunter on the sand bars) indicates Hunter now has a fourth girlfriend, this one with a young boy in tow. Let’s recount them: Kathleen Buhle (3 girls birthed), Hallie Biden, his late elder brother’s wife, Melissa Cohen. What a sleazeback, and now a drab mother with a 6-year-old son. There are far better beach resorts than shark-bait Bahamas for a family vacation in the Caribbean zone, for instance, snorkeling in Honduras, salsa dancing in Cuba or Colombia, smoking weed in Aruba or Jamaica. So it is possible, indeed probable, served as a contact man for FTX Bahamas for more recent cash transfers to Ukraine. Remember Burisma gas company in Kyiv? China-Hong Kong and Ukraine, it’s just too coincidental.
What is the attraction of The Bahamas for Sam and his buddy Hunter? British protection from criminals and foreign spies, along with reliable high-speed wifi connections and banking rules. HSBC operates in Hong Kong and Nassau, cutting out a lot of cash transfer hassles at other destinations. The other advantage is that any Chinese sons and daughters with business assets and cash holdings in tax havens Venezuela, Cuba or Nicaragua can easily transfer funds for services rendered directly into FTX in Nassau. This implies a connection with the MI6, which ran Epstein’s GF Ghislaine Maxwell, whose father was a connection point between Brit intel and the Mossad.
Thus, the other less noticed asset is the near-proximity of The Bahamas with the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a regional center for the London-based Rothschild Bank, and the adjoining U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), where JPMorgan Bank rules the money roost. Joe Biden owns spacious vacation homes in Saint Croix in the USVI. Joe’s brother used to own a house on Water Island, which is not a tourist attraction but a transfer point for cocaine smuggles. Nearby, of course, the pedophile islands owned Jeffrey Epstein. From those outposts of British-American imperialism, interbank funds can be transferred without hassles to Britain and any major city in the USA. It’s Fantasy Island in real life, as our hosts shout: “Zee plene! Zee, plene!” But the Caribbean has lost its touch of class with Harry Belafonte and Ricardo Montalban departed to another tax haven.
It ain’t over till it’s over and it’s still stealing bases. So this could be the end of series but probably not. Thanks for following this epic of crime and craziness.