SBF Avoids Mentioning Caroline Ellison in NYT Interview

  • Sam Bankman-Fried did not mention Caroline Ellison by name in an interview with The New York Times.
  • Ellison was the former CEO of Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund Alameda Research.
  • Former FTX CEO has denied allegations that he knowingly cheated with Alameda Research.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of collapsing cryptocurrency exchange FTX, talked about many things in his more than hour-long interview at The New York Times DealBook summit on Wednesday.

But one name she never mentioned was Caroline Ellison, former CEO of hedge fund Alameda Research, which was closely linked to the collapse of her other company, FTX.

The relationship between the two companies—and Bankman-Fried and Ellison reports previously living in a Bahamas penthouse with other FTX and Alameda employees—was revealed during the interview.

Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times asked Bankman-Fried a series of questions about FTX’s ties to Alameda and whether it was scamming “by pooling funds.” Bankman-Fried denied these allegations and did not mention Ellison in his answers.

“I didn’t knowingly mix the funds,” Bankman-Fried said during the interview. “I was frankly surprised at how great Alameda’s position was, which points to another lack of oversight on my part and my failure to appoint someone responsible for it.”

Sorkin asked Bankman-Fried if the scandal was an “$8 billion accounting error” after Ellison reportedly told Alameda employees that the hedge fund was using FTX client funds to cover its loans.

Near the end of the interview, Sorkin asked him about any drug use, pointing to a past tweet by Ellison that mentioned “regular amphetamine use.”

Both times Bankman-Fried said she could not speak for anyone else, but did mention that she had been given medication in the past to help her focus.

The interview was Bankman-Fried’s first video interview since the collapse of FTX, and has since followed a series of other media appearances where he repeatedly apologized for what he said was oversight and mismanagement while denying that he was committing fraud.

In his first network interview with ABC News on Thursday, Bankman-Fried denied knowing about the “improper use of client funds” but said he was responsible for the collapse of both companies.

“I really, deeply wish I had taken on a lot more responsibility to understand the details of what was going on,” he said during the ABC interview. “I had to get over it and I feel really, really bad and I regret not being there.”

He also told ABC News that he and Ellison were romantically involved in the past, but that only lasted for six months. Ellison has not made public comments since leaving Alameda Research. Insider reached out to Alameda Research to contact Ellison for comment prior to publication, but did not receive an immediate response.

Bankman-Fried said in an interview with New York Magazine that she didn’t know what was going on in Alameda last year.

Bankman-Fried did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment prior to publication.

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