Caroline Ellison has given evidence for a second day in the ongoing FTX trial. The deepest secrets held by Sam Bankman-Fried’s (“SBF”) former girlfriend are now in the public arena, including diary entry accounts of her distraught mental state whilst working at Alameda Research, and her infamous Tumblr posts hinting at her polyamorous adventures.
Over the past two days she has appeared before the court to give evidence. Here are some key moments in Caroline Ellison’s testimony:
1. Sam Bankman-Fried intended to run for President
Caroline Ellison revealed to the jury that SBF had ambitions to become President of the United States, and that he believed he had a 5% chance of succeeding.
“We started sleeping together on-and-off in the summer of 2020. We dated and broke up,” she told the prosecutor.
“What did the defendant tell you about his ambitions?” the prosecutor asked.
“That he would be President,” Ellison replied.
“The United States.”
2. Sam Bankman-Fried considered using identities of “Thai prostitutes”
Caroline Ellison testified that she kept a Google document months before FTX and Alameda Research’s collapse to record details of the crypto exchange’s impending doom.
One particular document, she said, was titled “Things Sam Is Freaking Out About”, which included SBF seeking to raise funds from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Ellison further alleged that around 2021, SBF bribed officials in China with US$150 million (AU$233 million) to unfreeze Alameda Research’s accounts on Chinese crypto exchanges OKX and Huobi. Those accounts were valued at around US$1 billion (AU$1.56 billion).
SBF and his lawyers had devised several strategies to unfreeze the accounts, the court heard. At one point, Ellison alleged that SBF even considered using the identities of Thai prostitutes as part of the strategy. A trader at Alameda Research quit, as she disagreed with SBF’s decision to pay bribes.
3. Alameda had borrowed $13,000,000,000 from FTX
Caroline Ellison alleged that by mid-June 2022, Alameda Research had borrowed US$13 billion (AU$20.3 billion) from FTX. This corroborates prior reports that Alameda Research had a credit line of US$65 billion (AU$101 billion) and was able to make unlimited withdrawals from the crypto exchange.
“I was in a state of dread,” Ellison said. “I was concerned that if anyone found out, it would all come crashing down.”
4. Caroline Ellison broke down in tears
When Caroline Ellison entered the courtroom on day one of her testimony, she took about 30 seconds to recognise SBF. She was asked to do so by the prosecutor, and scanned the left of the jury box before pointing out her ex-boyfriend, who was “over there and wearing a suit”.
Ellison also told the jury that SBF’s signature ‘‘dishevelled’’ look – messy, curly hair; simple grey t-shirt; khaki shorts; and thongs – was a deliberate brand image.
“He didn’t comb his hair. He said it had gotten him bonuses at Jane Street and was important to FTX,” she stated.
At the end of her testimony Ellison broke down in tears before the jury. She told those in the courtroom: “I have a sense of relief [that] I didn’t have to lie anymore, and [could] start taking responsibility. I feel indescribably bad for all the people who trusted us.”
Caroline Ellison is expected to take the stand for a third time on Friday, with the prosecutor continuing with cross-examination.