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Ex-Bakkt CEO and Georgia Senator engulfed in insider trading storm

By Lawrence Gash

Kelly Loeffler reportedly dumped millions in stock following closed Covid-19 briefing

Senator Kelly Loeffler, the former CEO of the Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt, has found herself facing accusations of insider trading.

The latest addition to the Senate reportedly sold stock holdings worth millions of dollars held jointly with her husband following a private all-senator meeting on the coronavirus outbreak in January, well before the largest economic crisis since 2008.

With $25tn (£21.2tn, €23.3tn) worth of value now wiped from global stock and bond markets and the median US stock down 50 per cent in the past month, the revelations of Loeffler’s actions and those of four other US senators have provoked fury.

Ten days ago Loeffler tweeted: “Remember this: The consumer is strong, the economy is strong & jobs are growing, which puts us in the best position to tackle #COVID19.”

Taking to Twitter once more to defend herself against the recent allegations the Georgia senator stated: “This is a ridiculous and baseless attack. I do not make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.”

Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is the chairman of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the founder of one of America’s largest exchanges, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).

Some have contested Loeffler’s defence by emphasising that it is still unclear whether the senator’s stock holdings are held in a blind trust or not. The shrewdness of the transactions made between the end of January and mid-February has also provoked suspicion, particularly the purchase of stock in Citrix, a tech firm providing teleworking software that can facilitate working from home.

While well-connected, Loeffler is by no means the most senior politician embroiled in the scandal. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, reportedly sold between $580,000-$1.56m in stock before the recent crash, notably moving out of hotel holdings.

The revelations have provoked bipartisan condemnation with both the socialist-leaning Democrat congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson calling for Burr to resign.

FURTHER READING: Bakkt CEO appointed to US Senate

FURTHER READING: Ex-Bakkt CEO to oversee key US financial regulator

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