Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research, has taken the stand as the star witness in the high-profile trial against Sam Bankman-Fried for alleged fraud. In her testimony, Ellison revealed that she too had taken significant risks, but unlike other key lieutenants, she received far smaller rewards.
The courtroom was abuzz with anticipation as Ellison detailed her involvement in the conspiracy alongside Bankman-Fried. Contrary to expectations, Ellison disclosed that she was not given any equity in Alameda and only held a small stake in FTX, the popular cryptocurrency exchange.
Surprisingly, it was revealed that Gary Wang and Nishad Singh, both having considerable stakes in FTX and Alameda, held more significant positions than Ellison. Bankman-Fried, on the other hand, maintained majority stakes in both companies, solidifying his control over the operations.
Perhaps one of the most astonishing revelations was the stark contrast in the financial dealings of Ellison and her counterparts. While others were securing billions, Ellison had taken out a minuscule $1.3 million personal loan for a startup venture. In addition, her base salary was a mere $200,000, although she did receive substantial bonuses, including a $20 million windfall in 2021.
Ellison’s testimony painted a clear picture of an executive who constantly answered to Bankman-Fried and his lieutenants, emphasizing the power dynamic within the organization. Bankman-Fried himself blamed Ellison for the collapse of FTX, but Ellison argued that he had instructed her to ignore potential risks.
The trial took a dramatic turn when it was revealed that Bankman-Fried had planned to borrow billions of dollars, despite Ellison’s expressed concerns about the associated risks. Ellison went so far as to describe Bankman-Fried’s appetite for risk as the willingness to “destroy the world for a 50% chance of improvement.”
As the trial continues, the revelations from Caroline Ellison’s testimony have shed light on the inner workings of Alameda Research and FTX. The courtroom remains captivated, awaiting further insights and evidence that will determine the outcome of this high-stakes fraud case.
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