We may never know exactly what Sam Bankman-Fried was up to in the months preceding the collapse of his crypto empire, but one of the few people in his orbit during that time was Anthony Scaramucci, who was at various points a mentor and a mark. Anthony and I have talked on several previous occasions about his friendship with S.B.F., including their financial partnership (FTX acquired a 30 percent stake in Scaramucci’s hedge fund, Skybridge Capital) and their October 2022 trip together to Saudi Arabia to try to raise capital for FTX from Mohammed bin Salman. A few weeks ago, I interviewed The Mooch at a private event at Faena Rose, in Miami Beach, where we dug deeper into his relationship with S.B.F., including those fateful months leading up to the FTX bankruptcy filing last November.
The Mooch first met S.B.F. over Zoom, in and around March 2021, at the suggestion of a mutual friend. S.B.F. was living in Hong Kong at the time. The Mooch didn’t know anything about S.B.F., but the friend said that S.B.F. had just renamed the FTX Arena in Miami and was in the process of finalizing a deal with Major League Baseball to put the FTX corporate logo on the umpires’ blue jerseys. Even more intriguing, the friend told The Mooch that S.B.F. wanted to sponsor his SALT conference, one of the most significant events on the alt investing social calendar, which was in the process of moving from the Bellagio, in Las Vegas, to the Javits Center, in Manhattan.
The Mooch remembered the first meeting precisely. “I plug into the Zoom call, and Sam has got his hair sticking out through the headset, and he’s sitting there in one of those gamer chairs and he comes on and he starts to lay out for me what he’s doing with FTX,” he recalled. He was impressed, very impressed. “I’m not a guy to revise history,” he continued, clearly not wanting to diminish his role in S.B.F.’s myth-making. “Sam is a brilliant person.”