Prominent crypto lobbyist Kristin Smith, president of the Blockchain Association, was detained in Liberia, Costa Rica, this week following a vacation at a luxury resort. Smith reported her detention in a tweet directed at U.S. Ambassador Cynthia Telles’ official account, asking for help.
Later in the same day, Smith announced her release from the airport detention center, stating, “The authorities here tell us that our passports are missing an entry stamp. Apparently, this is a very important stamp, and it is very bad if you don’t have one.” She remained under the supervision of Costa Rican immigration officials while awaiting a flight to the U.S.
Smith also expressed gratitude to U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) and Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) for assisting her in contacting the U.S. embassy. She had previously donated $55,800 to Emmer and $5,800 to Khanna ahead of the 2022 elections. So far, neither lawmaker has commented on the matter, and a Blockchain Association spokesman confirmed on Thursday evening that Smith was on her way home.
Earlier, Smith commented on FTX’s Sam Bankman during her appearance on a podcast. Smith alleged that Bankman had spent more time personally lobbying lawmakers in Washington, D.C., than any other executive she had encountered in her 20-year career.
“Sam testified before Congress multiple times, he had incredibly detailed proposals at the [Commodities Future Trading Commission] and also legislatively that he was working on,” she said.
Furthermore, Smith described Bankman’s extensive efforts in meeting with congressional members, leadership, and staff, including taking them out for drinks. “I’ve never seen, in my 20-plus year career in Washington, an executive spend this much time personally lobbying Capitol Hill,” she added.