The Metropolitan Museum of Art has decided to return the $550,000 it received as donations from FTX before its collapse in November last year.
The museum filed a statement to return the funds with the United States Bankruptcy Court in Delaware on June 2, where FTX’s bankruptcy case is being handled. The repayment of the funds will be made following the court’s proceedings.
If the court approves the agreement with FTX debtors in the exchange’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, The Met will return the full donation.
“The Met wishes to return the Donations to the FTX Debtors, and the FTX Debtors and the Met have engaged in good faith, arm’s length negotiations concerning the return of the Donations,” said a representative from the Met.
Initially, the donations were made by West Realm Shires Services, the operator of FTX.US, a US-focused exchange affiliated with FTX that faced a similar collapse in November last year.
In March of last year, West Realm Shires Services donated $300,000 to the Met before the crypto winter. The company then made an additional donation of $250,000 in May, according to court documents.
FTX looking to revoke donations
As FTX undergoes Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, Friday’s agreement marks an effort by the exchange, led by CEO John Ray III, to recover as many funds as possible. Ray has openly acknowledged the challenges involved in recovering the funds.
“It has taken a huge effort to get this far. The exchanges’ assets were highly commingled, and their books and records are incomplete and, in many cases, totally absent,” said Ray.
Since filing for bankruptcy in December, FTX has been attempting to retrieve its donations from politicians and other organizations. Court documents reveal that FTX distributed donated $93 million between March 2020 and November 2022.
According to data from Unusual Whales, out of approximately 180 U.S. politicians who received funds from FTX, only 19 have returned the donations or expressed their intention to do so. One of these politicians includes Lori Chavez DeRemer, who recently returned a $1,000 contribution.
Another data from Market Watch revealed that Protect Our Future political action committee received the highest amount of donations from FTX, totaling approximately $27 million.
Following the collapse of FTX, founder Sam Bankman-Fried has faced charges, including fraud and money laundering, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The allegations involve misusing billions of dollars in customer funds for personal real estate purchases, political donations and supporting his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
Unusual Whales also revealed that Bankman-Fried had been charged with making 300 illegal political donations, with $42 million given to Democrats and undisclosed “dark money” donations to Republicans.
Bankman-Fried was also involved in donations from the FTX Foundation, a crypto industry charity.
One of the recipient organizations is the Alignment Research Center, a non-profit focused on Machine Learning. The Alignment Research Center has expressed its intention to return the $1.25 million grant it received from the charity, saying that the funds morally, if not legally, belong to FTX customers or creditors.
The University of Toronto has initiated steps to return approximately $500,000 it received from FTX, according to The Logic.
ProPublica, a non-profit newsroom, has announced its intention to return $1.6 million received as part of a three-year, $5 million grant from Building a Stronger Future, a family foundation managed by Bankman-Fried and his brother Gabe.
In an April update, FTX has recovered $6.2 billion in assets under Ray’s leadership. Meanwhile, as the company awaits progress in the bankruptcy proceedings, Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial is scheduled for October.