Sam Bankman-Fried’s ex-girlfriend has hired a legal team which includes a former top SEC official and a lawyer who investigated the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
Caroline Ellison, 28, has recruited the two heavyweights of financial law while prosecutors close in on Bankman-Fried over the multibillion-dollar collapse of his crypto trading firm FTX.
Ellison was CEO of Alameda Research, another company founded by Bankman-Fried which is accused of gambling with FTX client money on risky trades.
She will face the scrutiny of investigators who are looking at whether FTX misused billions of dollars in client funds by transferring them to Alameda.
FTX filed for bankruptcy last month and about one million investors are owed a total of $10 billion, according to some estimates.
Ellison’s legal team also includes Anjan Sahni, who led investigations into accomplices of Bernie Madoff. Avakian and Sahni are both lawyers at the firm WilmerHale
While Bankman-Fried has made countless public statements about the collapse of his company, Ellison has remained silent, triggering speculation she’s trying to strike a cooperation deal with authorities.
Bankman-Fried and Ellison were previously in an on-off relationship and lived together with eight other senior FTX and Alameda staffers at Bankman-Fried’s $40 million Bahamas penthouse.
Ellison has hired Stephanie Avakian, former director of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, according to Bloomberg.