Caroline Ellison, former Alameda CEO reveals over $100 million in China bribes: SBF trial revelations


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  • Caroline Ellison was on direct examination for the third straight day, with questions on whether she and SBF used coded language.
  • Ellison said $1 billion dollars in FTX funds were frozen on two Chinese exchanges.
  • SBF pushed for the bribe to recover funds, which was made through the accounts of Thai sex workers as a precaution.
  • Co-CEO Sam Trabucco, who stepped down before Alameda's fallout, may be called in as witness.

Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of hedge fund Alameda Research and ex-lover of the defendant Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was on direct examination for the third straight day, as a witness, with the prosecution seeking to find out whether she and the accused used coded language, according to a transcript of the trial published by journalist Matthew Russell Lee.

Also Read: Sam Bankman-Fried conspired to keep Bitcoin price under $20,000, day six revelations from Caroline Ellison

Caroline Ellison revelations on day three in court

Caroline Ellison was asked whether she and SBF used coded language, responding with an affirmative and specifying that it did happen when it concerned the bribe paid to the Chinese.

Specifically, she revealed that when up to $1 billion in funds pilfered from the exchange’s customers got stuck in two China-based exchanges, they resorted to mafia-like tactics to get it unfrozen. In detail, she explained that SBF wanted it done, effective, nobility be damned. To do so, they went through one David Ma, hatching a rather perfect bribery plan.

For the funds to be released, up to $150 million in bribes was paid to Chinese government officials, but for precaution, the money was deposited in the accounts of Thai sex workers.

Another FTX staff named Handi Yang, daughter of a Chinese government official had opposed the bribe, according to Ellison. Reportedly, Handi went as far as mocking Ellison on messaging platform Signal, saying “[my father would] immediately turn us all in.” Handi quit in early January 2022 because she disagreed with the decision to pay bribes to Chinese officials, as her father was one himself. According to Ellison, Handi had argued with SBF about it; during that argument, he allegedly told her to “shut the fuck up.”

Another name that came up amid the bribery discussion was Sam Trabucco, who mysteriously exited the company. According to the witness, both SBF and Trabucco had asked her to make the transfer for the bribe, noting that at the time she did not know who she was transferring to.

A month after Yang quit, Trabucco wrote in a Signal chat, “Did Handi’s father immediately turn us in or something?” Bankman-Fried replied, “lol.”

Eventually, Trabucco mysteriously exited the company, with Ellison revealing that SBF had raised the possibility of hiring a co-CEO for the unit after Trabucco’s resignation. Ellison advocated for herself to remain the sole CEO.

Trabucco may be a person of interest in the proceeedings.


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