• FTX relocated from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in 2021.
  • But the Caribbean nation's economy had struggled due to COVID as SBF tried to convince staff to relocate.
  • So he met with its prime minister to discuss paying off its whole national debt, per Michael Lewis' biography.

Sam Bankman-Fried once discussed paying off the Bahamas' entire national debt with the country's prime minister, according to an excerpt of Michael Lewis' upcoming biography shared by The Times of London.

Lewis — whose book "Going Infinite: The Rise and Fall of a New Tycoon" will be published Tuesday — met with the FTX founder more than 100 times over two years, per CBS News.

The author of "The Big Short" recounted how the debt discussions arose as FTX moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to the Bahamas in 2021. That was partially because the Chinese government started to crack down on crypto.

Bankman-Fried thought the Bahamas was an appealing location because it had implemented regulations which could legitimize the crypto industry, per Lewis' biography.

But the Caribbean nation's economy — which relies heavily on tourism — had suffered during the COVID pandemic, amplifying the task of convincing FTX's 40 employees to relocate some 9,000 miles.

So Bankman-Fried started considering the idea of paying off the Bahamas' national debt himself, so the country could fix roads and build schools more easily, according to Lewis. That idea was also discussed in a meeting with the prime minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, the biography says.

In 2021, when Bankman-Fried met Davis, the Bahamas had a national debt of around 103% of its gross domestic product, equivalent to around $11.6 billion, according to data from the International Monetary Fund.

According to the most recent IMF data, produced in April 2023, the national debt of the Bahamas currents sits at around $11.8 billion, equivalent to roughly 84% of its $14.1 billion GDP.

One of Davis' aides told Lewis that after he was elected prime minister in September 2021, Bankman-Fried was the first person Davis wanted to meet.

The Office of the Prime Minister of the Bahamas did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, sent outside normal working hours.

The FTX founder's huge wealth also saw Bankman-Fried look into paying Donald Trump $5 billion not to run for president in 2024, Lewis said in a "60 Minutes" interview.

And the Bahamian economy saw big purchases from FTX, like $256.3 million worth of real estate. A private jet charter company based in Nassau says its CEO is one of the country's largest FTX victims after it received a $28.4 million loan to buy two aircraft.

Bankman-Fried's spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, sent outside US working hours.

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