Caroline Ellison Reveals: SBF Paid $150M Bribe to Chinese Officials to Release Frozen Funds

In recent court proceedings, Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda Research and ex-partner of FTX founder Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, made startling revelations. According to Ellison’s testimony on October 11, it was disclosed that Alameda Research, under the directive of Bankman-Fried, allegedly paid a staggering $150 million bribe to Chinese government officials to unlock approximately $1 billion frozen in Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi and OKX. These funds were seized as part of a money laundering investigation initiated by Chinese authorities in 2021.

Ellison revealed that before resorting to bribery, Alameda Research attempted to navigate the legal avenues by hiring local lawyers in China. Unfortunately, these efforts proved futile, compelling Bankman-Fried to explore unconventional methods. Ellison stated that they tried to manipulate the system by creating multiple accounts on OKX, using the identities of individuals, including Thai sex workers. The aim was to create imbalanced trades, causing some accounts to lose money while enabling others to profit. However, this strategy failed.

In a shocking turn of events, Ellison claimed that Bankman-Fried instructed her and other FTX employees to delete all related messages sent via the encrypted messaging app Signal. This alleged cover-up further deepens the complexity of the situation.

The revelation of these startling details sheds light on the legal battles faced by SBF, who is currently facing 13 charges. Notably, the initial seven charges of fraud being heard in the ongoing trial, which began on October 3, do not include accusations of bribing Chinese officials. However, in a second trial scheduled for March 2024, Bankman-Fried will face six additional charges, including bank fraud and foreign bribery conspiracy charges. Throughout the legal proceedings, SBF has maintained his plea of not guilty.

Witnesses present at the courtroom reported that Ellison will face cross-examination from SBF’s lawyer, Mark Cohen, on October 12.

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