Sam Bankman-Fried blames friends, colleagues, and lawyers in unreleased document cache
The New York Times has obtained some 250 pages of documents Bankman-Fried wrote during his house arrest, which provide a glimpse into the former billionaire's mindset during his pre-trial period.
In a series of unpublished documents recently uncovered by The New York Times, Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried extensively criticized colleagues and associates, expressing his views on the demise of FTX.
Some 250 pages of documents, not publicly available, were initially handed to social media influencer Tiffany Fong by Bankman-Fried during his period of house arrest.
The Confessions of SBF
After lamenting the fact that he was under house arrest and had become “one of the most hated people in the world,” Bankman-Fried went on to place blame on individuals linked to FTX and Alameda Research as he described his earlier relationships with them.
Bankman-Fried partially blamed Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, who was also his romantic partner at one point, for FTX’s collapse. He wrote:
“[Ellison] continually avoided talking about risk management — dodging my suggestions — until it was too late … Every time that I reached out with suggestions, it just made her feel worse. I’m sure that being exes didn’t help.”
He wrote that if Alameda had engaged in a hedging strategy under Ellison’s leadership, it “would have remained solvent and prevented the entire unhappy story.”
Bankman-Fried also criticized Alameda Research co-CEO Sam Trabucco. He said that Trabucco was skilled at risk management but put in minimal effort and instead spent time traveling and dating. As with Ellison, he described his personal relationship with Trabucco positively, detailing their earliest meetings at a math camp and attaching a photo of an “I ❤ BF” shirt that Trabucco had purchased during their high school days.
Elsewhere, Bankman-Fried criticized FTX’s bankruptcy lawyers. In documents that referenced Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film Inception, he claimed that Sullivan & Cromwell had fabricated the now-widespread narrative that he misappropriated customer funds.
Bankman-Fried additionally described a brief meeting with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) during a conference in Taiwan with a party atmosphere, writing:
“Tonight was a night about booze and women and lasers and loud, booming music … I walked by CZ a few more times, and each time he broke eye contact with his eye candy and embraced me: People were thinking about us, a lot.”
Binance was not unconnected to FTX’s collapse. Following negative coverage of Alameda by CoinDesk on Nov. 2, 2023, Zhao tweeted on Nov. 6 that his firm would sell $2.1 billion of FTX-related funds. FTX then entered a liquidity crisis, and Binance announced plans to acquire and rescue the firm before abandoning the deal by Nov. 9.
SBF documents are not fully public
Bankman-Fried’s unpublished documents amount to 250 pages of material and are not publicly available. He initially gave the documents to social media influencer Tiffany Fong, who visited him while he was under house arrest.
Fong initially received the documents in January. She eventually sent one document to a former FTX engineer, Aditya Baradwaj, who suggested that Alameda’s hedging practices would not have been important if FTX had not misused customer funds.
Later, Fong sent the documents to The New York Times, which referred to and quoted parts of the documents in its latest coverage of the matter.
Incidentally, Bankman-Fried sent documents related to former Caroline Ellison to The New York Times in or prior to July 2023. His decision to share that information led to his bail revocation and current imprisonment due to the risk of witness tampering.