Home Business Caroline Ellison, ex-girlfriend of Sam Bankman-Fried, kept a Google Doc about working for the CEO

Caroline Ellison, ex-girlfriend of Sam Bankman-Fried, kept a Google Doc about working for the CEO

Caroline Ellison, ex-girlfriend of Sam Bankman-Fried, kept a Google Doc about working for the CEO


When Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial hits the dock this fall there may be a particular witness the court is keen to hear from: his ex-girlfriend.

Caroline Ellison, Bankman-Fried’s former flame—and co-CEO of one of the earliest businesses he founded—is poised to become the star witness of the FTX fraud trial beginning in October.

Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to a raft of charges including wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, unlawful political contributions, and bribing a Chinese official.

But prosecutors may already have a glimpse into what Ellison is likely to say, after extracts from her private diary penned in a Google Doc were viewed by lawyers involved in the trial and by the media.

Ellison’s diary entries detail her professional and personal fears: from being a sub-par leader at crypto hedge fund Alameda Research, to not being good enough for billionaire Bankman-Fried himself.

Ellison didn’t seem confident in her role as boss of Alameda, a company where she had worked since being recruited by Bankman-Fried in 2017, before being promoted to co-CEO in 2021.

A Google diary entry, seen by the New York Times, penned in February 2022 reads: “I have been feeling pretty unhappy and overwhelmed with my job,” adding: “At the end of the day I can’t wait to go home and turn off my phone and have a drink and get away from it all.”

In an April 2022 document Ellison made a list of areas where she felt she was struggling. On that list were leadership and decisiveness.

“Running Alameda doesn’t feel like something I’m that comparatively advantaged at or well suited to do,” she continued.

Alameda collapsed during the crypto crash of May last year, with prosecutors alleging that Ellison and Bankman-Fried—alongside FTX executives Nishad Singh and Gary Wang—filled the holes in Alameda accounts with deposits from FTX customers.

‘Causing drama’

As well as doubting her abilities, Ellison—who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in December and agreed to cooperate with investigation into her former partner—also described her insecurities relating to her on-again-off-again boyfriend.

Ellison worried about “making things weird” with Bankman-Fried—who founded FTX in 2019—and feared “causing drama” between them, the entries show.

“It doesn’t really feel like there’s an end in sight,” Ellison added in a Google doc entry in February last year.

Representative for Ellison and Bankman-Fried were approached by Fortune for comment.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York—which is prosecuting the case—was also approached by Fortune for comment.

Among the leaked documents was an entry directly addressing Bankman-Fried.

In an April entry Ellison writes a split with the entrepreneur—who is currently on house arrest at his parent’s home in Palo Alto, Calif.—had significantly decreased [her] excitement about Alameda.” She continues the business “felt too associated with you in a way that was painful.”

Ellison adds she felt “hurt and rejected” following one particular split and ended communications with Bankman-Fried: “Not giving you the contact you wanted felt like the only way I could regain a sense of power.”

It’s unclear whether Ellison knew that Bankman-Fried appeared to be compensating her at a lower level than her fellow Alameda and FTX peers.

Court filings released in March this year show key employees across the businesses received $3.2 billion in payments and loans—the vast majority of which went to Bankman-Fried.

However, Singh—FTX’s head of engineering—received $587 million while Wang—one of the founders—took $246 million. Ellison received $6 million.

In November—the month FTX collapsed—Ellison wrote to Bankman-Fried of her relief: “I just had an increasing dread of this day that was weighing on me.

“Now that it’s actually happening it just feels great to get it over with.”


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