Caroline Ellison, the mathlete Harry Potter enthusiast alleged to be fallen crypto king and depressed vegan Sam Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, might have played a much smaller role in the allegedly secret loans of client funds than other members of her suspected-and-denied polycule team.
Ellison served as the CEO of Alameda Research, the sister hedge fund to embattled crypto exchange FTX, and is widely believed to be working with American law enforcement in their case against Bankman-Fried. But new court filings in the Bahamian case against FTX suggest she may not have had the authority to approve the loans to Alameda. An affidavit details a bundle of communications that Christina Rolle, the Executive Director of the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, had with members of the firm’s executive leadership over the alleged comingling of customer funds (the filings were first reported by the Financial Times).
The documents points to a conversation Rolle had on Nov. 9 with two FTX lawyers and Ryan Salame, the chairman and director of FTX’s parent company, FTX Digital Markets. According to Rolle, it was Salame who first informed her that clients’ assets “which may have been held with FTX Digital” were transferred to Alameda Research to cover the latter’s financial losses. Salame, per the affidavit, was also the guy who told Rolle that these transfers, “put simply…were not allowed or consented to” by customers.
Those nonconsensual transfers, which some would call “stealing,” are at the crux of the case against FTX. Ellison had been associated with the transfers, partly because she was the chief executive for the company receiving the assets. Likewise, at a Nov. 9 staff meeting, shortly after the company entered its ongoing solvency crisis, Ellison reportedly told staff that she was aware that they had taken place, alongside Bankman-Fried and executives Nishad Singh and Gary Wang. But consider this paragraph from Rolle’s affidavit (emphasis added):
Mr. Salame further advised the Commission that there were only three (3) persons who had the necessary codes (or passwords) to transfer clients’ assets to Alameda in this manner, that is, the founders of FTX namely Sam Bankman Fried [sic], Nishad Singh and Zixiao (Gary) Wang.
Ellison’s name is not on this list. We have reached out to Salame and Ellison’s lawyer, Stephanie Avakian at Wilmer Hale, for comment. They did not immediately respond, but we will update if they do.