Sam Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend has hired a legal team that includes a former top SEC official and an attorney who investigated the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Caroline Ellison, 28, has recruited the two financial law heavyweights as prosecutors close in on Bankman-Fried following the multi-billion dollar collapse of her crypto trading firm FTX.
Ellison was CEO of Alameda Research, another company founded by Bankman-Fried that is accused of gambling with FTX clients’ money on risky trades.
She will face scrutiny from investigators looking to find out whether FTX misused billions of dollars in client funds by transferring them to Alameda.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last month and about one million investors owe a total of $10 billion, according to some estimates.
Caroline Ellison was CEO of Alameda Research, a company founded by Sam Bankman-Fried that is accused of misusing FTX client money to make risky investments
As prosecutors close in on FTX’s top brass, Ellison has hired Stephanie Avakian (pictured), former director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.
Ellison’s legal team also includes Anjan Sahni, who led investigations into Bernie Madoff’s accomplices. Avakian and Sahni are both attorneys at WilmerHale
While Bankman-Fried has made countless public statements about her company’s collapse, Ellison has remained silent, sparking speculation that she is trying to strike a co-op deal with authorities.
Bankman-Fried and Ellison were previously in an on-and-off relationship and lived with eight other senior FTX and Alameda executives in Bankman-Fried’s $40 million penthouse in the Bahamas.
Ellison hired Stephanie Avakian, former director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, according to Bloomberg.
His work in this role included overseeing the application against Ripple Labs, a blockchain company whose founders have been accused of illegally raising $1.3 billion through a securities offering of unregistered digital assets.
Ellison also tapped former federal prosecutor Anjan Sahni, who led investigations into accomplices of Bernie Madoff, the American fraudster who orchestrated the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.
Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents, law professors Barbara Fried and Joseph Bankman, fear they will be financially ruined by their son’s legal bills
Bankman-Fried is being investigated by prosecutors in the United States over the FTX collapse, which cost investors around one million for a total of around $10 billion, according to some estimates.
In other recent FTX developments:
Both Avakian and Sahni are attorneys with WilmerHale, based in Washington D.C.
The appointments come after it was claimed that Bankman-Fried’s parents, who are both Stanford law professors, told friends that their son’s legal bills could “wreck them financially”.
Bankman-Fried was born on the campus of Stanford University in California to two esteemed law professors at the institution.
Her father, Joseph Bankman, is the Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business at Stanford Law School.
Bankman-Fried’s mother, Barbara Fried, is a William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders professor of law and co-founder of Mind the Gap, a “secret Silicon Valley” PAC that backs Democratic candidates.
US prosecutors are investigating whether Bankman-Fried and other FTX insiders should be charged over the company’s collapse.
Bankman-Fried said on Monday he would not appear in person before a congressional hearing into the scandal on Tuesday because he is “pretty overbooked” – and will instead answer questions via zoom from his luxury home in the Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried will testify before Congress on Tuesday about the collapse of FTX – but he is expected to appear remotely from his luxury penthouse at the Albany Bahamas Resort (pictured: a luxury property at the Albany)
A view of the exclusive Albany Bahamas Resort community, where FTX is said to have spent over $100 million on luxury homes. Bankman-Fried remains locked up there amid claims he would be arrested if he returned to the US, where prosecutors are investigating the collapse of FTX
Members of the House Financial Services Committee will question him about the collapse of the digital currency exchange that was worth tens of billions of dollars until recently.
The 30-year-old billionaire confirmed last week that he would testify, but in a Twitter interview he said he was worried about the attentions of the paparazzi if he traveled to Washington, DC.
Critics believe he will not travel to the United States because he fears arrest.
The entire FTX operation was described as being “run by a bunch of children in the Bahamas”.
Examination of their operation also revealed that Ellison had previously posted a viral message on social media about amphetamine use.
“Nothing like regular amphetamine use to make you appreciate how stupid a normal, non-drug human experience is,” she tweeted on April 5, 2021.
Ellison did not specify which amphetamine drug she took, only that it helped her get out of her house and quickly decide what to eat.