No red flags at FTX despite 8 months of 'extensive due diligence' — Temasek

Singapore’s state-owned investment firm Temasek revealed despite eight months of due diligence in 2021, it didn’t find any significant red flags in FTXs financials before deciding to invest $275 million into the now-bankrupt crypto exchange.

Like many of FTX’s more than one million creditors, the Singapore-based firm has been left blindsided by the collapse of FTX and the ongoing fallout, saying in a Nov. 17 post:

“The thesis for our investment in FTX was to invest in a leading digital asset exchange providing us with protocol agnostic and market neutral exposure to crypto markets with a fee income model and no trading or balance sheet risk.”

Before the firm decided to invest $210 million for a stake of 1% in FTX International and $65 million for a minority 1.5% stake in its United States-based entity FTX US across two funding rounds, it claims to have conducted “extensive due diligence” from Feb. to Oct. 2021.

According to Temasek it reviewed FTX’s audited financial statements, investigated the associated regulatory risk with crypto financial market service providers, and sought advice from external legal and cybersecurity specialists, with a legal and regulatory review undertaken for the investments.

As another precaution, the firm said it interviewed people familiar with FTX, including employees, industry participants, and other investors.

“We recognize that while our due diligence processes may mitigate certain risks, it is not practicable to eliminate all risks,” the firm said.

“It is apparent from this investment that perhaps our belief in the actions, judgment, and leadership of Sam Bankman-Fried, formed from our interactions with him and views expressed in our discussions with others, would appear to have been misplaced.”

Related: FTX’s ongoing saga: Everything that’s happened until now

According to Temasek, it estimates its investment in FTX was 0.09% of its portfolio value of more than $293 billion, and none of the disclosed investments involves crypto, despite rumors to the contrary, the firm says it has “no direct exposure in cryptocurrencies.”

“We continue to recognize the potential of blockchain applications and decentralized technologies to transform sectors and create a more connected world. But recent events have demonstrated what we have identified previously – the nascency of the blockchain and crypto industry and the innumerable opportunities as well as significant risks involved.”

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