SCIENCE & TECH: SBF ripped Caroline Ellison over FTX crisis
Sam Bankman-Fried shredded his ex-lover Caroline Ellison’s handling of the crisis that eventually toppled FTX and said he felt “claustrophobic” in their relationship, according to a trove of his unsent tweets and other documents.
In writings compiled while he was under house arrest, Bankman-Fried reportedly blamed Ellison, who served as CEO of FTX’s sister cryptocurrency hedge fund Alameda Research, for mishandling the crisis that later led to the downfall of his empire, the New York Times reported on Thursday.
Bankman-Fried, 31, also criticized his on-again, off-again girlfriend for crying during a meeting and noted that she often clashed with Sam Trabucco, a member of the inner circle that once served as co-CEO at Alameda.
“She continually avoided talking about risk management — dodging my suggestions — until it was too late,” Bankman-Fried wrote in a document called “Alameda’s Failure to Hedge.”
“Every time that I reached out with suggestions, it just made her feel worse. I’m sure that being exes didn’t help,” he added.
Bankman-Fried’s relationship with Ellison, 28, will be under the microscope next month when he heads to a federal trial over charges that he bilked FTX customers out of billions of dollars.
Ellison has already pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is expected to be a key witness.
Bankman-Fried sent the personal writings and documents to cryptocurrency industry influencer Tiffany Fong, who later provided them to the New York Times.
In sum, the trove included about 250 pages of documents, including the text of the sweeping 15,000-word Twitter thread.
“He liked that I don’t work for anybody,” Fong told the outlet. “He thinks I can just sort of come to my own conclusions.”
In a lengthy Twitter thread that he drafted but never posted, Bankman-Fried wrote about his initial attraction to Ellison, referring to her as “wicked smart.”
However, the disgraced ex-billionaire signaled he eventually felt trapped by their relationship.
Bankman-Fried said their star-crossed romance ended “the same way most of my relationships end.”
“They want more intimacy and commitment and public visibility than I do,” Bankman-Fried wrote, “and I feel claustrophobic.”
Bankman-Fried wrote that he became increasingly frustrated with what he saw as Ellison’s refusal to follow his directive that she hedge Alameda’s risky trades.
At one point, Bankman-Fried said he sent her a message with “the meanest thing I’ve ever said to her.”
“If Alameda had hedged, it would have remained solvent and prevented the entire unhappy story,” he said.
Bankman-Fried often punctuated “a key moment in the narrative” by including a link “to a music video by Alicia Keys, Katy Perry or Rihanna,” according to the report.
Representatives for Bankman-Fried and Ellison did not immediately return requests for comment.
The former FTX chief was also critical of Trabucco, grumbling that he had been “going on dates with a ton of guys while sailing around the world on a boat” rather than focusing on his work at Alameda.
Trabucco left Alameda just months before its collapse.
The feds allege that Bankman-Fried used FTX customer funds to cover risky bets at Alameda and to bankroll his lavish lifestyle, which included hobnobbing with celebrities and politicians and snapping up beachfront property in the Bahamas, where his crypto exchange was headquartered.
Bankman-Fried has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty to an array of charges.
Last month, a federal judge ordered Bankman-Fried jailed for purportedly leaking Ellison’s personal writings to a New York Times reporter.