Caroline Ellison is back on the stand as the prosecution’s star witness in FTX founder Sam Brankman-Fried’s fraud trial.
Ellison, 28, testified Thursday that after finally breaking up with Bankman-Fried for good in May 2022 she tried to ‘avoid one-on-one conversations with him’.
Over the next six months as FTX imploded, Ellison also tried to dodge him in social situations, she told the jury.
She said: ‘I found it difficult to have in person one on one conversations with him so I tried to avoid those and avoid spending much time with him in social settings.
She told the jury that after FTX went bankrupt in November 2022, four or five FBI agents came to her family home outside Boston where she was living.
The agents seized a number of computers belonging to herself, her mother and her boyfriend, who worked at FTX and Alameda Research, the trading company she ran.
Her admission means that she had already moved on from Bankman-Fried within six months of breaking up with him – and was dating somebody else she worked with.
Caroline Ellison testified Thursday that after breaking up with Sam Bankman-Fried in May 2022 she tried to ‘avoid one on one conversations with him’
Sam Bankman-Fried dated Caroline Ellison and appointed her as head of FTX’s sister company Alameda Research
Ellison said that she and Bankman-Fried ‘talked sometimes outside of work’ and as they lived in the same $30million penthouse it was ‘hard to avoid that entirely’
‘I continued to have work communications over (messaging app) Signal,’ she said, adding she also continued to take part in group meetings.
Cohen asked if it was ‘fair to say you were not talking outside of work?’
Ellison said that she and Bankman-Fried ‘talked sometimes outside of work’ and as they lived in the same apartment it was ‘hard to avoid that entirely.’
She said: ‘I often shared feelings about being unhappy with our relationship.
‘I also shared feelings about the intersection of personal and professional relationships and how it affected me at work.
‘If I messed something up at work and Sam gave me feedback it would affect our personal relationship as well.
‘It made me feel bad. It made me feel like an unequal partner in our relationship.’
The court has previously heard that Ellison and Bankman-Fried began sleeping with each other in 2018 and began dating properly in the summer of 2020.
Their relationship lasted a year before they broke up but got back together a few months later.
They finally broke up for good in the summer of 2022, when the scale of FTX’s problems became apparent.
Ellison was appointed co-chief executive at Alameda in 2021 – she and Bankman-Fried were ‘on a break’ at the time – and chief executive in 2022.
The court has previously heard that Ellison and Bankman-Fried began sleeping with each other in 2018 and began dating properly in the summer of 2020
Ellison returns to testify against Sam Bankman Fried on Thursday
In her testimony Ellison has said that she broke up with Bankman-Fried for good because he was ‘not paying attention to me’.
The two have not looked at each other in court despite sitting a few feet apart.
Testimony has shown that Ellison was paid significantly less than the three other senior men at FTX.
She has told the court that her base pay was $100,000 and her biggest bonus was $20 million.
By comparison, securities filings have shown that FTX’s chief engineer Nishad Singh was paid $587 million, its co-founder Gary Wang was paid $246 million and Bankman-Fried got $2.2 billion.
She testified that she got ‘very upset’ when Bankman-Fried said that the financial challenges were ‘my fault’.
Ellison described how in August 2022 she and Bankman-Fried had a difficult conversation in the study of his $30 million penthouse apartment in the Bahamas.
By that point it was clear that Alameda had borrowed more than $10 billion from FTX’s customers.
Ellison said Bankman-Fried told her she was ‘largely responsible for the financial situation at Alameda’.
She said: ‘He was speaking pretty wildly and strongly. I got very upset, I started crying and I had trouble continuing the conversation.
‘(He said) that it was my fault Alameda had gotten into that situation’.
Ellison said that she ‘absolutely could and should have done things differently.’
But she told the jury: ‘The fundamental reason was we’d borrowed these billions of dollars in loans and used them for illiquid investments.’
Assistant US Attorney Danielle Sassoon asked Ellison: ‘Whose decision was that?’
Ellison said: ‘It was Sam’s’.
Sam Bankman-Fried blamed Caroline Ellison for the collapse of FTX in court documents obtained by DailyMail.com. Bankman-Fried claimed that the culture at Alameda Research, FTX’s sister company which Ellison ran, had become ‘mediocre at best’ and said his ex was ‘not good enough to be able to trust’ with winding it up
Earlier in the week, Ellison told the jury she grew up near Boston and studied math at Stanford University before working as an intern on the equities desk at Jane Street, a trading company.
She met Bankman-Fried there as he was working as a trader.
He left and in Spring 2018 she met him for coffee when he told her he had started his own company, Alameda, and offered her a job as a trader.
But shortly after joining she found that Alameda was in ‘much worse shape than I realized’.
She said: ‘Right before I started working there it suffered large losses. Lenders pulled out a lot of money and more than half the company indeed up quitting’.
Sassoon asked if Bankman-Fried had shared these ‘rough circumstances’ with her before she joined.
She said no. Ellison told the jury: ‘I asked why he hadn’t shared more of this information and he apologized and said he hadn’t known how to tell me.’
Ellison said that they were ‘not really’ open about their relationship and that the first time they dated they kept it a ‘secret’.
The second time Bankman-Fried ‘agreed to make it public’ and they were living together but ‘didn’t talk about it much’
Ellison said that in 2021 she became co-chief executive of Alameda – at the time she and Bankman-Fried were ‘on a break’ – and chief executive in 2022.
She told the jury that her salary did not change when she became co-chief executive and she stayed on $200,000 a year.
She got bonuses ranging from $100,000 a year to $20million, her largest one, in 2021.
She asked Bankman-Fried for an equity stake in Alameda but he brushed her off by saying it was ‘too complicated and didn’t make sense’.
She got a 0.5 percent stake in FTX, which was a fraction of that owned by Bankman-Fried and his other top lieutenants.
Ellison admitted she was ‘not particularly’ well suited to be in charge of Alameda.
She said: ‘I felt it was a big job and I wasn’t very experienced. Sam said there wasn’t a better person for the job.’
She told the jury she became concerned when she discovered that Alameda had loaned billions of dollars to Bankman-Fried, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and Nishad Singh, its chief engineer.
Bankman-Fried is facing 115 years in jail and has denied 13 counts of fraud and money laundering.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
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