The infamous owner of FTX crypto-currency exchange, Sam Bankman-Fried, is in the midst of being extradited from the Bahamas to the United States. According to several former U.S. officials, though, he should be very concerned that his ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison is working with prosecutors to “spin her narrative.”
Ellison, 28, is the CEO of Alameda Research, another company founded by Bankman-Fried, which he previously blamed for the disaster that was his trading company.
Former U.S. attorney Marc Litt, who helped prosecute Bernie Madoff, told Fox News’ Will Cain in an interview that he wouldn’t be surprised if Ellison was working with federal prosecutors to get her narrative out first. Being the first person interviewed by authorities would be “in her interest” to “spin her narrative,” according to Litt.
“It wouldn’t surprise me at all,” Litt told Cain. “It’s in her interest to spin her narrative and tell her story before everybody else that the government talks to points the finger at her, so she has every incentive to cooperate and get the benefits of cooperation,” Litt continued after calling the ordeal a “race” to the prosecution.
“The government needs cooperators,” he added.
In a recent interview with the New York Post, former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Howard Fischer said that he believes Ellison would have a lot of incentive to speak to authorities, echoing the popular sentiment that SBF is likely to blame her, given his past comments.
“She would have among the greatest incentives to cooperate, as it was seeming likely that in his effort to exculpate himself, Bankman-Fried would try to finger her,” he told the outlet.
Fischer added that given the fact that SBF “repeatedly disclaimed either knowledge of, or responsibility for, [the] mishandling or theft of customer assets,” he would likely attempt to lay the blame on other members of his organization, with Ellison being the most likely culprit.
Moira Penza, a former federal prosecutor, says there is “strong incentive to cooperate early” in a case like Ellison’s.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams recently said that numerous unnamed people were cooperating with federal authorities, before announcing to other collaborators that they would be sought after if they didn’t turn themselves in.
“To anyone who participated in wrongdoing at FTX or Alameda Research and who has not yet come forward, I would strongly encourage you to come see us before we come to you,” the attorney general warned.
Rumors of Ellison’s cooperation were exacerbated after she was spotted in New York City at a coffee shop.
Ellison has retained Stephanie Avakian, former director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement. Avakian’s law firm has an office in New York City.
Image Courtesy New York Post / Twitter / @AutismCapital