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US Government asks for an independent examiner for FTX Bankruptcy case

In a significant development in the ongoing FTX bankruptcy case, the United States government is pushing for the appointment of an independent examiner for the case to investigate the affairs of the cryptocurrency exchange. The move comes as authorities seek to unravel the intricacies of FTX’s operations and protect the interests of its customers and creditors. The case, which has attracted widespread attention due to its potential impact on the cryptocurrency industry, has reached a critical juncture as stakeholders await the court’s decision on the appointment of the examiner.

After the U.S. bankruptcy court judge dismissed the U.S. Trustee’s request for an impartial investigator in the FTX bankruptcy case, the government is now seeking to overturn this decision. The appeal from the U.S. Trustee has been escalated to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and Chief Judge Colm F. Connolly has acknowledged the obligation to consider the Trustee’s appeal.

U.S. Trustee’s Appeal: Pursuing an independent examiner for FTX Bankruptcy proceedings

The U.S. government, specifically the U.S. Trustee appointed by the Department of Justice for the FTX bankruptcy case, is advocating for the appointment of an independent examiner for FTX bankruptcy proceedings. In December of last year, an attorney representing the U.S. Trustee submitted a formal letter to the court, asserting the necessity of an unbiased examiner. Moreover, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators has emphasized the importance of assigning an independent investigator to the FTX case.

The letter requesting an inquiry was signed by U.S. senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and John Hickenlooper (D-CO). Nonetheless, the FTX management team has estimated that having a separate examiner could result in approximately $100 million in expenses for the estate. In early February 2023, Judge John Dorsey postponed his decision regarding the appointment of an examiner, and a week later, he rejected the request made by the U.S. Trustee.

Court Grants Trustee’s motion for the examiner in response to appellant’s filing

Chief Judge Connolly, in a court filing submitted on May 30, expressed that he was compelled to approve the motion made by appellant Andrew Vara. The judge stated that there was no dispute regarding the Trustee’s request for an examiner in this case, nor was there any disagreement about the debtor’s fixed, liquidated, unsecured debts, except for debts related to goods, services, taxes, or those owed to an insider, which surpasses $5 million.

Judge Connolly said: “The only issue is whether, given those facts, the bankruptcy court could lawfully reject the Trustee’s request for the appointment of an examiner.”

Judge Connolly additionally ruled that the court would issue an order consistent with the memorandum opinion. He also mentioned that the assessment of the appeal’s merits would be put on hold until the Third Circuit renders a decision. Approximately 200 days have elapsed since FTX, owned by Sam Bankman-Fried, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2022.

In conclusion, the call for an independent examiner for the FTX bankruptcy case, made by the U.S. government and supported by bipartisan senators, reflects the importance of ensuring a thorough and impartial investigation. The involvement of high-profile senators such as Cynthia Lummis, Thom Tillis, Elizabeth Warren, and John Hickenlooper highlights the bipartisan concern over the need for transparency and accountability in the proceedings.

However, the FTX management team has expressed reservations about the potential financial burden associated with appointing a separate examiner. The estimated costs of around $100 million have raised valid concerns about the impact on the estate. Judge John Dorsey’s decision to delay and ultimately deny the U.S. Trustee’s request for an examiner adds further complexity to the case. This decision has sparked debates and raised questions about the fairness and openness of the bankruptcy proceedings.

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