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Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend says FTX used $100M of customer deposits to bribe Chinese officials, set up accounts in names of Thai prostitutes
Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend says FTX used $100M of customer deposits to bribe Chinese officials, set up accounts in names of Thai prostitutes

Sam Bankman-Fried's ex-girlfriend and business colleague, Caroline Ellison, stated in court that the former FTX boss had directed her to commit fraud-related crimes, as well as used loans to make political donations. She also alleged customer deposits were used to bribe Chinese officials.

Bankman-Fried, who had just sat through a few days of colleagues Adam Yedidia and Gary Wang pointing the finger at him, was once again on the receiving end of the blame for the catastrophe that was the collapse of crypto-currency trading company FTX.

Ellison has been complying with federal authorities and was expected to receive a plea deal in exchange for her cooperation in taking down her ex-boyfriend.

At the beginning of her testimony, Ellison confirmed that she had committed fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, and money laundering, to which she pled guilty in December 2022, according to the Epoch Times.

"He directed me to commit these crimes," Ellison reportedly said in court. It was also noted that she was paid more than $20 million in salary and bonuses in 2021 as head of Alamada Research, FTX's sister hedge fund.

In previous court revelations, Alameda was revealed to have a $65 billion line of credit with FTX, which eventually resulted in an $8 billion debt, made up of customer deposits.

Ellison made other shocking allegations, "CBS Mornings" reported, such as the claim that Alameda used $100 million of FTX customer deposits to bribe Chinese officials.

This was allegedly done in order to gain access to up to $1 billion in cryptocurrency that was frozen in China. The company also allegedly tried to regain the money through accounts set up in the names of Thai prostitutes.

Ellison claimed that Bankman-Fried also considered selling shares in the company to investors such as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Ellison reportedly told jurors that Alameda lent money to Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives, funds that would then be used to make political donations.

In addition, the aforementioned Yedidia, who worked out of FTX’s Hong Kong office and then the Bahamas before the company collapsed, had previously testified that FTX was using customer deposits to pay off loans. He called the company's actions "flagrantly wrong."

FTX took a reported $10 billion from customer deposits.

Realistically, this would allegedly mean that FTX was taking customer deposits, let Alameda Research take out loans from that money, then Bankman-Fried allegedly loaned money back to himself to pay of his own loans and debts.

Political donations predominantly included $5.2 million to President Biden's campaign in 2020, which immediately shot Bankman-Fried to near the top of the donor list. According to Time, more than $70 million was donated to election campaigns, along with another $40 million to politicians and committees ahead of the 2022 midterms.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.
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