Former Alameda Research CEO and star witness Caroline Ellison today took the stand against alleged crypto crook Sam Bankman-Fried and told the jury that he directed her to commit crimes.
Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend, who in December admitted fraud related to the collapse of crypto exchange FTX, also told the courtroom that Bankman-Fried was “who set up the system to allow Alameda to take money.”
“He directed me to commit these crimes,” Ellison said in her brief 15 minute appearance before the trial broke for lunch. “Alameda took several billions of dollars from FTX customers and used it for investments,” she said.
Alameda Research was a trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried deceived customers by pinching money from FTX to make risky trades on Alameda.
Prosecutor Thane Rane said during his opening remarks that Ellison was named as CEO but Bankman-Fried was the one “calling the shots at Alameda”—and that Ellison was really just a “front.”
Ellison had a fascination with race science and polyamory, and wrote about such topics on Tumblr, Decrypt previously reported.
In private writings, Ellison said it was a good thing the FTX empire collapsed—and admitted she wasn’t up to the task of running Alameda, according to the New York Times.
Bankman-Fried was arrested a month after his crypto behemoth filed for bankruptcy. FTX, once the most recognized brands in the crypto space, quickly and unexpectedly went bankrupt last November.
He is now facing seven criminal charges and his trial is expected to last six weeks.