SBF avoids mentioning Caroline Ellison in NYT interview

  • Sam Bankman-Fried did not mention Caroline Ellison by name in an interview with The New York Times.
  • Ellison was formerly the CEO of Alameda Research, Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund.
  • The former FTX CEO denied allegations that he knowingly committed fraud with Alameda Research.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, spoke on a variety of topics during his more than hour-long interview at the New York Times’ DealBook Summit on Wednesday.

But one name he never mentioned was Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of his hedge fund Alameda Research, which is closely linked to the implosion of his other company, FTX.

The relationship between the two companies — and reports that Bankman-Fried and Ellison previously lived in a penthouse in the Bahamas with other employees from FTX and Alameda — came up during the interview.

The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried a series of questions about FTX’s ties to Alameda and whether or not he committed fraud by “mixing funds.” Bankman-Fried denied these allegations and did not mention Ellison in his replies.

“I did not knowingly shuffle funds,” Bankman-Fried said during the interview. “I was frankly surprised at the size of Alameda’s position, which indicates another failure of oversight on my part and failure to appoint someone with primary responsibility.

Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried if the scandal was an “$8 billion accounting error” after pointing out that Ellison had reportedly told Alameda employees that the hedge fund was using FTX client funds to back its loans have.

Towards the end of the interview, Sorkin asked him about drug use, referring to what appears to have been a previous tweet from Ellison that mentioned “regular use of amphetamines.”

Bankman-Fried responded both times that he was unable to speak for others, but mentioned that he had been prescribed medication to help focus in the past.

The interview was Bankman-Fried’s first video interview since the collapse of FTX and has since been followed by a series of other media appearances in which he repeatedly apologizes for oversights and mismanagement while denying any fraud.

During his first network interview with ABC News on Thursday, Bankman-Fried denied knowing about any “improper use of client funds” but said he was responsible for the downfall of both companies.

“I really, really wish I had taken a lot more responsibility for understanding the details of what was going on,” he said during the ABC interview. “I should have looked past that and I feel really, really bad and regret that I wasn’t.”

He also told ABC News that he and Ellison had been in a romantic relationship in the past, but it only lasted six months. Ellison has not spoken publicly since leaving Alameda Research. Insiders reached out to Alameda Research to seek comment from Ellison ahead of publication, but didn’t immediately receive a response.

In an interview with New York Magazine, Bankman-Fried said he didn’t know what happened at Alameda last year.

Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment before publication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *