Joe Lewis, the billionaire former Premier League football club owner who sold Sam Bankman-Fried more than $76 million worth of property in the Bahamas, is set to plead guilty to 19 fraud charges, reports Financial Times.
Lewis, who owned London-based Tottenham Hotspur, handed himself in to US authorities last year after he was charged with a number of offenses including securities fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements.
The 86-year-old is accused of helping his ex-girlfriend and his personal pilots invest in numerous biotech companies before positive news was announced publicly. Those involved profited over half a million dollars.
Lewis pleaded not guilty last summer, claiming that the US government’s decision to charge him was “an egregious error in judgement.” He was subsequently released on a $300 million bond — about $50 million more than FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Joe Lewis and SBF linked by Deltec owner
Lewis, who previously ran a chain of restaurants, made waves in the 1990s when he and George Soros shorted the British pound. The currency collapsed in September 1992, making the pair billions of dollars. Lewis also infamously purchased nearly 10% of Bear Stearns shares in the lead-up to the 2008 collapse, costing him over a billion dollars.
He also founded private investment firm Tavistock Group, the company through which he sold $76 million worth of property to jailed FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Bankman-Fried and Lewis are also connected through Deltec Bank owner Jean Chalopin. Chalopin sold his property named Albany House to Lewis in 2014. Lewis apparently maintains his yearly residence at The Albany.
Meanwhile, Chalopin was also the primary banker for FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried and helped to get the DARE Act passed in the Bahamas, ushering in dozens of crypto companies.
In an interview with Henri Arslanian, Chalopin said “I love that Deltec takes credit for [the cryptocurrency industry coming to the Bahamas]… I think there would be no [cryptocurrency industry] in the Bahamas today if it wasn’t for us.”