Amid the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried over the collapse of FTX, a cryptocurrency trading platform he used to run, the court is hearing testimonies of his closest associates, including Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of hedge fund firm Alameda Research, and FTX co-founder Gary Wang.
As it happens, Ellison’s is one of the most important testimonies in this case due to her role in the entire scheme and her romantic involvement with Bankman-Fried, and on the first day of her testimony, she made some rather damning statements, according to courtroom reports on October 10.
SBF pulling the strings
Indeed, she said that Bankman-Fried directed her to commit the crimes, specifically the seven felony counts for which she had pleaded guilty in December, as well as claiming that he was the primary decision-maker within the FTX infrastructure.
According to Ellison, the former FTX CEO was entirely aware that Alameda was taking FTX customer money, totaling “ultimately around $14 billion,” and had a virtually limitless credit line on the crypto exchange until the money was no more in November 2022 as the company had to repay its lenders.
As she explained:
“Alameda took several billions of dollars from FTX customers and used it for investments. (…) He set up the systems and told us to take the money. (…) I sent balance sheets that made Alameda look less risky than it was.”
On top of that, Ellison provided details about what Bankman-Fried wanted out of the FTX empire and his personal ambitions, including becoming the President of the United States one day. As a reminder, the ex-FTX CEO has allegedly used user funds for donations to campaigns on both sides of the US political spectrum.
Right before Ellison, the jurors heard the cross-examination of Wang, whose testimony began on October 5 and who admitted to having committed crimes in conspiracy with Bankman-Fried, Ellison, and former engineering director Nishad Singh, for which he had pleaded guilty earlier.
Meanwhile, the price of FTX’s token, FTT, at press time stood at $1.025, recording a decline of 3.98% on the day, as well as losing 14.83% to its value across the previous week and dropping 0.75% in the last month, as per the latest data on October 11.
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