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Why due diligence by investors can still fail to uncover red flags, corporate governance issues

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SINGAPORE: Up until the moment that FTX started collapsing, the consensus view was that everything was generally fine with the crypto exchange, with former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried a star of the corporate world.That all changed earlier this month, with a chain of events which culminated on Nov 11 when FTX started bankruptcy proceedings in the United States, owing its 50 biggest creditors nearly US$3.1 billion (S$4.28 billion)."Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here," said new FTX CEO John Ray, hired to oversee the firm's bankruptcy after Mr Bankman-Fried's resignation."From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented."Among the issues that have emerged since the firm collapsed are supervisors using emojis to approve payments, executive decisions communicated on messaging apps set to auto-delete after a short time, and company funds were used to buy homes in the Bahamas for employees and advisers.Founded in 2019, FTX was valued at US$32 billion in January and backed by prominent investors including Singapore's state investment firm Temasek, venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and the world's largest asset manager BlackRock.Temasek, which wrote down its US$275 million investment, said it conducted "extensive due diligence" on FTX over eight months, including reviewing FTX's audited financial statement that "showed it to be profitable".The state holding firm said it looked at regulatory risks, particularly in

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