Alameda Research’s Caroline Ellison ‘spotted in New York’

Speculation abounds as to Ellison's possible cooperation with US authorities after unverified photo

FTX Alameda                                 
Reports that Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of the disgraced trading firm Alameda Research, is in New York prompt speculation of a deal with US authorities – Photo:Shutterstock

The former CEO of the defunct cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research, Carolijne Ellison. has been spotted in New York, ending online speculation that she attempted to flee US jurisdiction and prompting suggestions that she may be co-operating with US authorities over the collapse of FTX. 

Two photographs started to circulate on Twitter, seemingly showing Ellison at the Ground Support Cafe in Manhattan accompanied by Gopher, a golden doodle puppy owned by executives at Alameda and its sister firm, FTX. 

Both firms collapsed last month, after reports alleging that FTX and Alameda’s senior leadership had fraudulently commingled client funds. FTX filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, admitting that it owed more than  $3bn to its 50 largest creditors and could have as many as one million creditors in total. 

Particular attention was paid to the relationship between Ellison and Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX and Alameda. The two had previously dated and lived together with a number of other FTX executives in a $30m mansion in the Bahamas. 

As Ellison was in Hong Kong when the scandal erupted, commentators speculated that she was likely to remain there in order to avoid extradition to the United States. 

Should the photograph in question prove to be genuine, Ellison could be co-operating with authorities and ready to testify against Bankman-Fried in exchange for an immunity deal. Social media users were quick to highlight the proximity of the cafe and the offices of the New York attorney-generals and the FBI.

At the end of last week, the US Department of Justice expressed its desire for an independent examination into FTX’s $32bn collapse. Describing the collapse as “the fastest big corporate failure in American history,” the DOJ added: "An examiner could – and should – investigate the substantial and serious allegations of fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, misconduct and mismanagement by the debtors."

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