Caroline Ellison, the 28-year-old CEO of doomed crypto firm Alameda Research, is facing scrutiny not only over the company’s multi-billion dollar collapse, but also over rumors that she is the ex-girlfriend of disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. .
Ellison and Bankman-Fried were part of the “roommate cabal” based in a “luxury penthouse” in the Bahamas that was behind the FTX and Alameda machinations, according to a bombshell report from CoinDesk. Alameda was one of approximately 130 FTX Group affiliates included in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last week.
The roommates are reportedly former Bankman-Fried college classmates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and former colleagues at quantitative trading firm Jane Street.
Relations between the group of 10 insiders were not strictly commercial: members of the inner circle “are, or were, paired in romantic relationships with each other,” the report said.
Ellison and Bankman-Fried dated occasionally while running the now bankrupt cryptocurrency empire, the value of which went from an estimated $ 32 billion to its peak to actually zero after a rapid decline.
“The whole operation was handled by a gang of kids in the Bahamas,” a person familiar with the matter told CoinDesk.
“They will do anything for each other,” another source told the outlet.
Born in Boston, Ellison is a graduate of Stanford University and worked as a trader on Jane Street before becoming involved in FTX and Alameda.
With the ongoing company meltdown, social media users have spilled over to her old interviews, including an appearance on a now viral podcast from July 2020, in which Ellison described her childhood obsession with books. Harry Potter and his affinity for LARPing, where participants dress up and play imaginary characters.
“As a kid, I was pretty obsessed with Harry Potter,” Ellison said. “I started, I was 3 when the first book came out, my parents read it aloud to me, and when I was 5 the second book came out, I refused to wait for my parents to read it, so l ‘I read it myself. ”
Ellison didn’t tweet since November 9 and has yet to face bankruptcy.
Current and former employees of FTX and Alameda told CoinDesk that Bankman-Fried and his circle of friends have indeed gone wild, with little oversight and large conflicts of interest that have sparked alarm among workers.
In addition to Ellison and Bankman-Fried, other “roommates” in the Bahamas included FTX co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Gary Wang and FTX director of engineering Nishad Singh.
Workers also said they were told little about what was happening at the top levels of cryptocurrency companies as they headed for bankruptcy.
“Gary, Nishad and Sam control the exchange’s code, matching engine and funds,” said one of the CoinDesk sources. “If they moved them or entered their numbers, I’m not sure who would notice.”
Ellison and Bankman-Fried did not respond to CoinDesk’s request for comment.
The post reached out to FTX for comment. The Alameda Research website appears to be offline.
Alameda had deep ties to the FTX crash, which accelerated after CoinDesk reported that the cryptocurrency hedge fund was heavily invested in FTT, a token issued by FTX.
Somewhere between $ 1 and $ 2 billion in client funds has disappeared since the FTX collapse, according to Reuters. Bankman-Fried is alleged to have “secretly transferred $ 10 billion of client funds” from FTX to Alameda, money that was used to finance the company’s risky operations.
Bankman-Fried told Reuters he “disagrees with the characterization” of the $ 10 billion in funds transferred.
“We didn’t transfer secretly,” Bankman-Fried said. “We had confusing internal labeling and we misinterpreted it.”
Earlier this week, Bankman-Fried had its penthouse at the upscale Albany resort in the Bahamas for sale for nearly $ 40 million.
But insiders say all FTX executives had homes in the residence – it’s unclear how many properties will be listed in the coming days.
The Albany Club, the Bahamas’ most exclusive tourism community that boasts members including Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake, has also been stuck in the crosshairs.
The neighborhood was intended to cater to “a new generation of global elite,” according to comments made to Albany partner Jason Callender several years ago.
But over the weekend, Albany Club CEO Damien Michelmore sent residents an email with the update that colleague Sam Bankman-Fried’s company “FTX has filed for bankruptcy” and instructed residents not to talk to the press.
“Out of respect we offer all homeowners and members, we have instructed our employees not to speak to the press and respectfully ask other members and homeowners not to provide any comment at this time,” added Michelmore.