Sam Bankman-Fried is in jail, but legal watchers are wondering: Where’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison?

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Sam Bankman-Fried is in jail, but legal watchers are wondering: Where’s ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison?

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Sindhu Sundar,Lakshmi Varanasi

Fri, December 16, 2022 at 3:17 AM MST·5 min read

Composite image of Caroline Ellison and Sam Bankman-Fried
Caroline Ellison hasn’t been heard from in public since Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas.MARIO DUNCANSON / Contributor/ Getty Images/ Caroline Ellison’s Twitter
  • Former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison isn’t named in prosecutors’ charges against Sam Bankman-Fried
  • But the SEC’s civil suit references her statements on the relationship between FTX and Alameda.
  • Conspiracy charges and civil claims against SBF show others in the crosshairs, legal experts said.

As Sam Bankman-Fried was taken away in handcuffs, some people who have been watching the implosion of FTX are wondering: Where’s Caroline Ellison, his onetime girlfriend who ran his crypto hedge fund Alameda Research?

So far, legal watchers say US prosecutors and regulators have been tight-lipped: The criminal indictment made no mention of Ellison, and the SEC’s civil complaint targeted just Bankman-Fried.

But in investigating what US Attorney Damian Williams called “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history,” the government is almost certainly looking beyond Bankman-Fried, legal experts said.

“It would not surprise me if Ellison has already spoken with prosecutors,” said Renato Mariotti, a partner at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, and a former federal prosecutor in Chicago. “And given the situation she’s in, she has to be at least considering that move.”

No charges or government complaints have been brought against Ellison so far. But her rise as CEO at Alameda, Bankman-Fried’s other crypto company separate from FTX, may certainly put her in investigators’ sights.

The SEC outlined her tenure at Alameda since she joined in 2018, citing news reports that quoted her as claiming FTX and Alameda were “at arm’s length,” but then telling Alameda employees last month that the firm’s leadership knew it took FTX funds, a detail reported in The Wall Street Journal at the time.

The SEC’s complaint on Tuesday claimed that Bankman-Fried “remained the ultimate decision-maker” at Alameda, even after Ellison took over the reins.

US Attorney Damian Williams, who heads the federal prosecutors’ office in Manhattan that charged Bankman-Fried, told reporters on Tuesday that investigators are still on the case. Depending on what they uncover, the agency can bring new charges and target other defendants.Story continues

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