April 19, 2024
Testimony unveils withheld $10B FTX loan & concerns of fallout
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Alameda Research’s Caroline Ellison Testifies About Crypto Fund Misuse

On the sixth day of Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial in New York, former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison conceded to submitting altered financial data for examination by Genesis. According to reports from the courtroom on October 11, Ellison stated that Bankman-Fried instructed her to create alternative balance sheets concerning Alameda’s use of funds from the crypto exchange FTX. She testified that she had provided seven spreadsheets, one of which SBF presented to Genesis. This document omitted the fact that Alameda had borrowed $10 billion from FTX.

Ellison’s testimony included her recounting Sam’s words, “Don’t send the balance sheet to Genesis.” She disclosed that they had borrowed $10 billion from FTX and held $5 billion in loans to their own executives and affiliated entities. Their concern was that Genesis might share this information.

After initially appearing in the courtroom on October 10, Ellison returned to the witness stand at SBF’s trial. In contrast to her earlier statements, the prosecution questioned the former Alameda CEO about her feelings regarding her deceit concerning the firm’s financial status. She expressed her concerns, stating that she was worried about customer withdrawals from FTX, this getting out, and people being hurt. If people found out about Alameda using FTX funds, they would all try to withdraw from FTX. Ellison affirmed when asked by prosecutors if she considered her actions to be dishonest and wrong.

Throughout the trial, Ellison has predominantly placed responsibility for the events leading to FTX’s collapse on SBF due to his alleged involvement in the misuse of customer funds. In contrast, defense lawyers appear to be portraying the former Alameda CEO as the one who initiated these actions. Ellison is anticipated to be a key witness for the prosecution in SBF’s trial, following the testimony of FTX co-founder and former chief technology officer Gary Wang. Former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh, while not yet testifying, has been identified as a potential witness as part of an agreement with the United States Justice Department.

Prosecutors in Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial have indicated that they plan to conclude their case around October 26 or 27, after which the defense will begin calling witnesses. SBF has entered a plea of not guilty to seven criminal charges related to fraud at FTX, in addition to five charges he will face in a March 2024 trial.

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