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Federal Reserve Closes Signature Bank While Dodging FOIA by Inner City Press As on FTX

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

SDNY COURTHOUSE, March 12 – Amid the prosecution of Samuel Bankman-Fried on wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violation charges, the role of the Federal Reserve has been coming to the fore. 

 Inner City Press was unsurprised to learn of Fed laxity as Alameda invested in Farmington State Bank, renamed Moonstone Bank.

Inner City Press submitted to the Federal Reserve a Freedom of Information Act request including  about Signature Bank: "This is a FOIA request for all record regarding the FRS' approval for the application / request for membership in the Federal Reserve System by Farmington State Bank (giving rise to FRBSF president Daly's approval on a delegated basis in 2021), and the subsequent renaming of the bank to Mooonstone and taking of a stake by FTX/Alameda.  Also, for Silvergate with its FTX connections, record reflecting any review by the FRS of Silvergate's (and Provident Bancorp Inc., Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Signature Bank, Customers Bancorp Inc.) of the banks' connections with crypto-currency firms... This is a request for expedited treatment, in light of the indictment of FTX / Alameda's Sam Bankman-Fried and Caroline Ellison (cooperating), and an upcoming January 3, 2023 hearing."

The Federal Reserve acknowledged receipt and said it was granting expedited process. Then -- nothing. Now, as the Fed belatedly closes Signature Bank after Silicon Valley Bank, the Fed tries to paper its delay: "Months after the Federal Reserve said it granted Inner City Press expedited processing of its FOIA request on the Fed's work / errors on crypto, and two months after Inner City Press answered a request for clarification, past 4 pm on Friday March 10, 2023, this: "Good afternoon Mr. Lee  Staff is still unclear about the scope of your request.  Referring to the initial clarification email below, the second part of your request still needs clarification.      “The second part of your request seems to concern other entities (Silvergate, Provident Bancorp Inc., Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Signature Bank, Customers Bancorp Inc.).  Please confirm the scope of this part of your request, did you intend to seek applications related information for these entities?  Clarifications are needed in order to conduct a search of Board records and process this portion of your request.”     I realize from your January 10 email response that you are seeking application submissions, Additional Information “AI”, and approval information.  However, it is unclear what application(s) you seek this information concerning.  Did you intend to seek applications for FTX to acquire or merge with Silvergate, FTX to acquire or merge with Provident Bancorp, Inc., or FTX to acquire or merge with Metropolitan Commercial Bank?  It is unclear the connection you intended for these institutions (other than media mentions) and as such conducting a search of Board records cannot be completed.  Did you intend to seek records that reference all of these institutions together?  Did you intend to seek applications records about each institution?  If this was your intent, we need a target institution ABC Bank and Provident, Signature Bank and XYZ Bank, for example.  From these examples alone, the interpretations are many.  It would be helpful if you could include the date the application was approved or announced in the H.2.  Doing so would allow us to search and review records more quickly, should they exist.      I realize that you responded in a timely manner to our last communication about this request, but your comments were not specific clarifications with respect to the named institutions in part 2 of your request that would enable staff to conduct a reasonable search.  If you have additional context, please provide it as soon as possible.  After which, staff may be able to make reasonable interpretations regarding the information you seek."    Inner City Press again immediately responded and clarified, about FTX.  Watch this site."


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