Evidence presented in court as a part of the ongoing criminal trial against Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried, former CEO of crypto exchange FTX, reveals SBF believed Binance leaked an Alameda balance sheet to the media in 2022.
On Oct. 11, Caroline Ellison, former CEO of Alameda Research, said SBF created a memo that dates back to Nov. 6, 2022 and that outlined possible investors and other parties to reach out for a bailout.
According to the document, Bankman-Fried wrote that Binance had been “engaging in a PR campaign against us.”
It continued to say that Binance “leaked a balance sheet; blogged about it; fed it to Coindesk; then announced very publicly that they were selling $500m of FTT in response to it while telling customers to be wary of FTX.”
On Nov. 2, 2022, CoinDesk reported that it saw a balance sheet from Alameda and that the firm was possibly not in good standing. This was a key event in the lead-up to the run on FTX and its ultimate bankruptcy.
SBF also noted that FTX was capitalized but not entirely liquid, which Ellison clarified by saying that out of the $12 billion in client assets said to be held by the exchange, only $4 billion was available to process withdrawals.
The document also revealed Justin Sun, the founder of the Tron network and a Huobi adviser, as a potential investor — though it reads that it “turns out he’s close to (Binance CEO) CZ.”
Inner City Press, which has been in the courtroom, reported on X (formerly Twitter) that Ellison said she was “stressed” when Changpeng Zhao tweeted about liquidating his share of FTX Token (FTT).
Ellison: The tweet characterizes the delay as being about anti-spam and nodes. But we just didn’t have the money.
AUSA: Are these the tweets of CZ of Binance?
Ellison: Yes. He tweeted, “we have decided to liquidate any FTT on our books.” I was stressed out.
— Inner City Press (@innercitypress) October 11, 2023
This is the second week of Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial. He faces seven charges of conspiracy and fraud tied to the collapse of FTX, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
A second trial is scheduled for sometime in March 2024, during which SBF will face another six charges, including bank fraud and foreign bribery conspiracy charges.
Ellison has been a key witness in the trial thus far and is scheduled for cross-examination by the defense’s attorneys on Oct. 12.
Cointelegraph reporters are on the ground in New York covering the trial. As the saga unfolds, check here for the latest updates.