Sam Bankman-Fried Accused of Leaking Caroline Ellison Confidential Documents
Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), founder and ex-CEO of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is facing an accusation from the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ). SBF is alleged to have leaked confidential documents belonging to Caroline Ellison, his former business associate and romantic partner, and currently a government witness in his case.
The documents shared with the NYT authors were said to have included her struggles at Alameda Research, her emotional turmoil following the break-up with SBF, and her being severely underpaid, the latter of which could “publicly discredit a government witness” during his trial.
A point of contention is that the documents were not part of the government’s evidence and SBF, through private knowledge of the evidence, seemed to be the source of the documents. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams stated, “when the government learned this week that this article was forthcoming, defense counsel confirmed that the defendant had met with one of the article’s authors in person and had shared documents with him that were not part of the government’s discovery material.”
The government has requested the court to invoke the Local Rule 23.1, which disallows “extrajudicial statements” that may have a “chilling effect on witnesses” or “could taint the jury pool”.
SBF is likely the source of the documents given their absence in the discovery materials and their presence in his personal Google Drive account. He is set to appear in court on October 2, facing charges ranging from fraud to illegal political contributions and allegations of bribery to the Chinese government.
His past business and romantic relationship with Ellison, and the accusations against him, show FTX’s chaotic downfall and SBF’s subsequent legal troubles. It remains to be seen what becomes of his case and the documents that may yet influence the outcome.