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Enron, Madoff, and Now FTX: New York’s Belfer Clan Attacks Again

New York’s oil dynasty, a client of legendary con man Bernard Madoff, who lost billions in the demise of Enron, was caught up in the collapse of FTX, according to court documents.

The Belfer family investment firm, whose name appears above the gallery at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, was included in a list of shareholders of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its U.S. operations released in court documents this week.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of orchestrating “one of the greatest financial frauds in American history,” including Ponzi scheme architect Madoff and the fraud. has been compared to Enron’s chaotic bankruptcy, which sank amid allegations of Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty.

According to estimates at the time, one of Enron’s largest shareholders, the Belfer family, lost about $2 billion in the company’s collapse. The patriarch of the family, Robert He Belfer, was a prominent member of Enron’s board of directors for several decades until 2002. Several family foundations and businesses also invested in Madoff’s phony investment firm.

A representative for Belfer Management, the Belfer family office run by Robert’s son Lawrence Belfer, said the family was not interviewed and declined to comment. Robert Belfer said in 2011: .

FTX’s ability to woo wealthy New York families is another sign of how far Bankman-Fried has penetrated the U.S. elite to attract investment in his business. Billionaire Robert Kraft and several celebrities and famous athletes are also FTX shareholders, according to court documents.

Belfer Investment Partners held shares from FTX’s equity funding in 2021 and early 2022 and invested in the crypto exchange’s U.S. operations, documents show. Another family-related company, Lime Partners LLC, also held shares in FTX and FTX US. The two companies’ combined stake in FTX Group was valued at $34.5 million at the time of their latest funding round early last year, according to a share price provided by a person familiar with the transaction.

Belfers is known for its large charitable giving. Robert and his wife Lenny made a large donation to the Met His Museum, renovating the Greek and Roman gallery of the New York institution named after Belfers. The family is also a major patron of Harvard University, and the Center for International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School is named after them.

The family is descended from Arthur Belfer, who immigrated to the United States from Poland around World War II, importing feathers for down pillows and sleeping bags before branching out into rubber and oil. The family oil company was bought by his Enron predecessor in the 1980s, making the Belfers a major stakeholder in the moribund energy giant.

Their financial misfortunes include trusting Madoff’s phony investment firm. However, after Enron’s demise, Belfer’s firm extracted more than $28 million of his money from Madoff’s plan before it fell apart, according to court documents.

https://www.ft.com/content/2c70076a-3c59-4183-b4c6-79fb202a8b98 Enron, Madoff, and Now FTX: New York’s Belfer Clan Attacks Again

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