US Prosecutors Calls SBF’s $500 Million Investment in AI Firm Anthropic ‘Wholly Irrelevant’

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In the ongoing trial against the FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has submitted a letter requesting the exclusion of evidence or arguments related to the current value of “certain investments” made by the defendant, including the $500 million investment in the artificial intelligence (AI) company Anthropic.

In a court filing on October 8, the DOJ argued that such evidence is “wholly irrelevant” to the case and could potentially lead to “a substantial danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, and waste of time.”

Anthropic’s Series B round saw the San Francisco-based firm raise $580 million, with Bankman-Fried leading the round, according to data from Crunchbase. FTX’s former head of engineering Nishad Singh, and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison were also investors in the startup.

Founded by former OpenAI VP of research Dario Amodei, Anthropic has emerged as one of the best-funded rivals to OpenAI in generative artificial intelligence. The company’s flagship model is Claude 2, a chatbot with capabilities similar to ChatGPT, billed as “a friendly, enthusiastic colleague or personal assistant who can be instructed in natural language to help you with many tasks.”

Last month, Anthropic unveiled Claude Pro, a paid version of Claude 2, which is designed to natively handle extensive conversations, even when they involve large attachments.

Anthropic’s fundraising efforts

The company has also secured the backing of SK Telecom Co. Ltd., which invested $100 million in the startup in August, and in March, Anthropic closed on a bumper $450 million round that saw participation from Google, Salesforce Ventures, and Zoom Ventures.

Additionally, Amazon has pledged to invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic in September, giving it a minority stake in the high-profile startup.

The DOJ filing states that while Anthropic fundraising efforts are aimed at valuing the company between $20 billion and $30 billion, some public reporting suggested that such a valuation could potentially raise the value of the defendant’s investment.

Consequently, this could lead to an increase in the potential recovery for FTX customers and other creditors involved in the FTX bankruptcy.

However, “there is no relevant purpose to admit evidence about the current value of the Anthropic investment,” according to the DOJ.

“The Indictment alleges that the defendant committed wire fraud by misappropriating FTX customer deposits to make investments and other expenditures,” reads the filing. “It is immaterial whether some of those investments might ultimately have been profitable.”

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