FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried accused of 'harassing' witness by leaking diary

Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried allegedly leaked the personal notes of Caroline Ellison, his ex-girlfriend and ex-business partner, to the New York Times.

Bankman-Fried, the 31-year-old cryptocurrency mogul currently facing charges of wire fraud and securities fraud, was accused of portraying Ellison as a ‘jilted lover’ as jury selection begins for his March 2024 trial.

Federal prosecutors at the Southern District of New York argued that Bankman-Fried’s actions amount to harassment of Ellison, who is set to testify against him as a cooperating witness.

Ellison, 28 was the former CEO of Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency trading firm that served as a liquidity provider for FTX.

Alameda Research filed for bankruptcy in November 2022, shortly after FTX lost over $1billion in customer funds.

Bankman-Fried and Ellison met while they both worked at hedge fund Jane Street Capital. The two dated on and off over the years.

When Bankman-Fried left Jane Street in 2017 to start Alameda Research, he quickly recruited Ellison as a trader for the new firm. He promoted her to CEO in 2021.

In December, Ellison took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering, and securities fraud.

On Thursday, the New York Times published portions of Ellison’s private writings, which appear to be excerpts from a personal diary.

The excerpts show Ellison expressing dissatisfaction with her work at Alameda and expressing doubts about her role as CEO.

In one document addressed to Bankman-Fried, Ellison tells the founder she ‘significantly decreased my excitement about Alameda’ after breaking up with him in April 2022.

The same day, SDNY prosecutors sent a letter to the court, accusing Bankman-Fried of trying to discredit their star witness.

‘The defendant has sought to publicly discredit a government witness by sharing her personal writings with a reporter so that these private documents could be featured in a New York Times article published today,’ the letter addressed to Judge Lewis Kaplan reads.

‘The defendant’s purpose in sharing these materials is plain,’ the letter reads. They argued that Bankman-Fried is attempting to ‘cast Ellison in a poor light’ and portray her as ‘a jilted lover who perpetrated these crimes.’

Prosecutors said the leak could potentially taint the jury pool and have a chilling effect on Ellison and other witnesses.

According to prosecutors, Bankman-Fried’s own defense attorneys confirmed that the disgraced founder met with one of the NYT reporters and ‘shared documents with him that were not part of the Government’s discovery material.’

Prosecutors believe these documents came from Bankman-Fried’s own Google Drive account.

A footnote in the letter also states that Bankman-Fried’s lawyers were ‘not aware of the defendant’s conduct until contacted about it by the government.’

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