Caroline Ellison says she wasn’t an ambitious person until she met Sam Bankman-Fried

Caroline Ellison, former chief govt officer of Alameda Research LLC, arrives to court docket in New York, US, on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023. Ellison, ex-girlfriend of FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried, outlined for a New York jury Wednesday how she labored with Sam Bankman-Fried to deceive lenders and clients to construct his multi-billion greenback cryptocurrency empire, and their failed makes an attempt to forestall a spectacular collapse. Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg through Getty Images

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Caroline Ellison, the federal government’s star witness in its fraud case in opposition to FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, took the stand for cross-examination on Thursday morning because the trial continued in a courthouse in downtown Manhattan.

Ellison was CEO of Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda Research, and in addition dated him on and off whereas working with him. She pleaded guilty in December to 2 counts of wire fraud, two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit cash laundering. Part of the 28-year-old’s plea take care of the federal government has concerned cooperating with the prosecution’s case in opposition to Bankman-Fried.

On Thursday morning, Ellison confronted aggressive questioning from Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, who spoke over her a number of instances as she tried to testify. But Judge Lewis Kaplan additionally appeared irritated at the truth that Cohen requested two sidebar conferences early on to pursue strains of questioning.

Ellison principally averted eye contact with the defendant, as she has throughout the previous two days of testimony, staring down at her arms in between questions and often flipping her hair over her left shoulder.

Part of the cross-examination revolved round Sam Trabucco, who was Alameda’s co-CEO with Ellison from October 2021 until August 2022, months earlier than each corporations collapsed out of business as buyers raced to withdraw funds from FTX amid allegations that it had used buyer funds to assist paper over losses at Alameda because the crypto market tanked.

Ellison testified that she and Trabucco started dealing with lots of Alameda’s day-to-day enterprise as early as 2020, nicely earlier than formally taking on, and that there have been durations of time the place Bankman-Fried wouldn’t speak to them a lot. By 2021, she testified, Bankman-Fried had largely stopped coming into the Alameda workplace and had left extra of the job to Ellison. She mentioned that Trabucco was good underneath strain and at dealing with excessive buying and selling conditions.

She additionally testified that the agency had tried to rent a number of folks to supervise Alameda’s accounting, however all of them left and Ellison took on the function of making ready Alameda’s stability sheets from Ryan Salame, who had been the CEO of a subsidiary referred to as FTX Digital Markets. In earlier testimony, Ellison admitted that she had used FTX buyer cash to pay Alameda’s loans, and alleged she did so at Bankman-Fried’s suggestion.

Ellison additionally testified that Bankman-Fried had mentioned including a brand new co-CEO when Trabucco left, however she resisted.

When Cohen requested if she thought-about herself an ambitious person, Ellison mentioned she did not consider herself as significantly ambitious, however grew to become extra so with Bankman-Fried’s encouragement as she labored for him.

Ellison’s cross-examination is prone to proceed all through Thursday morning.

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