Former Hollywood Agent Michael Kives Took $700 Million From Sam Bankman-Fried for Investment Firm, Lawsuit Says

Kives worked as a middleman, connecting celebrities like Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom to the world of crypto

Michael Kives (Getty)
Michael Kives

Super-networker and former Hollywood agent Michael Kives faces a lawsuit targeting the investment firm he founded, K5 Global. K5’s managing member Bryan Baum is also being targeted by the suit, in which FTX’s bankruptcy lawyers seek to recover $700 million in investments doled out to the aforementioned firm’s entities and associates.

The court filing, which TheWrap obtained Friday, says Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX who was arrested for fraud, agreed to generously invest in K5, Kives and Baum in exchange for connections with influential politicians and celebrities including Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom. To this end, Kives and Baum each personally received $125 million, with half-a-billion dollars on top of all that going to various K5 entities as part of two transactions, which the Thursday filing labels as the “K5 Transaction” and “Mount Olympus Transaction.” Those expenses add up to $700 million, which is the figure FTX’s bankruptcy lawyers are aiming to recover from Kives, Baum, and K5 for transactions conducted without “due diligence.”

“This action seeks to avoid and recover $700 million in transfers of Debtor funds made in connection with the K5 Transaction and Mount Olympus Transaction, funds that were misappropriated as part of one of the largest financial frauds in history, and to avoid Plaintiffs’ obligations, if any, arising from the K5 Transaction and Mount Olympus Transaction,” the filing reads.

In response to a request for comment, Elizabeth Ashford, a spokesperson for K5, said that the firm has investments in 148 companies and over $1 billion in managed assets apart from funds linked to SBF and those affiliated with him.

“In mid-2022 an affiliate of Sam Bankman-Fried and Alameda bought a third of K5’s general partnership for cash and stock, and ultimately made a $400 million investment in certain funds managed by K5,” Ashford said. “K5 was under the impression – like many others – that SBF was completely legitimate and they were entering into a fair, long-term, and mutually beneficial business relationship. Our belief is that the lawsuit is without merit.”

This story was first reported by the New York Times.

Michael Kives did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.