The unconfirmed location of Caroline Ellison, ex-CEO of Alameda Research and reported ex-girlfriend of fallen crypto tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried, has received increased attention online following Bankman-Fried’s arrest Monday and after an unconfirmed photograph of her appearing in Manhattan in early December prompted speculation that she may be cooperating with authorities, according to MarketWatch Tuesday.
Bankman-Fried’s arrest was quickly followed by a battery of charges from federal prosecutors and regulators Tuesday alleging that Alameda Research was given access to billions of dollars’ worth of clients’ assets kept on his cryptocurrency exchange, FTX, while new CEO of FTX John J. Ray III alleged in written testimony that these assets were used to fund risky trades by Alameda. Similar charges have yet to be filed against Ellison, despite her purported romantic relationship with Bankman-Fried and status as Alameda’s CEO.
Ellison, a former co-worker of Bankman-Fried’s at hedge fund Jane Street from when she was an undergraduate at Stanford, joined Alameda at Bankman-Fried’s request, eventually becoming CEO after he left to focus on FTX. The 28-year-old, whose parents were both economists at MIT, joined Alameda in 2018, assuming the role of co-CEO in October 2021 alongside colleague Sam Trabucco before he stepped down in August 2022.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York — which specializes in complex financial crimes and is among the federal groups filing charges against Bankman-Fried — reportedly received visits from both Ellison’s lawyer, Stephanie Avakian of WilmerHale, and WilmerHale partner Anjan Sahni in early December, although the nature of those visits could not be confirmed, according to Bloomberg. Avakian formerly served as director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division under presidents Biden, Trump and Obama, while Sahni, a former federal prosecutor, was in contention to be appointed as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York by Biden in 2021, Bloomberg reported.
An unconfirmed photograph of Ellison at the Ground Support Cafe, a Manhattan coffee shop that is roughly a 15-minute walk from the Manhattan’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, posted on Twitter on Dec. 4, launched speculation about whether Ellison was working with authorities, according to Fortune. Alameda is based in Hong Kong, while FTX relocated to the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried now awaits extradition to the U.S., in 2021.
WilmerHale and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.
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