Bankman-Fried And Ellison Hire Lawyers As Investigations Ramp Up
According to sources close to Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX and its founder have hired a defense attorney, as the crypto exchange’s collapse is under investigation.
Likewise, someone familiar with the matter also said that the head of Alameda Research, the trading firm of the FTX exchange, Caroline Ellison had also engaged the services of a defense attorney.
Mark Botnick, the spokesperson for Bankman-Fried said that he had hired the services of Mark S. Cohen, who works at Cohen & Gresser.
As far as the head of the defunct-trading firm is concerned, Ellison has contracted the services of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, the law firm based in Washington.
However, she has not responded to this statement, nor has it been confirmed by a spokesperson. It had been previously reported that the collapse of the exchange is under investigation.
Regulatory bodies all over the globe, including those in the United States and the Bahamas where the company was based, are probing into the role of the top executives, including SBF, in the stunning downfall of the exchange.
Last month, FTX declared bankruptcy after dealing with a liquidity crisis and customer funds worth at least $1 billion had vanished into thin air.
Regulators and prosecutors have not yet filed any charges against the FTX founder, or against Ellison. However, the two of them are facing civil lawsuits filed by clients of their respective companies.
Botnick also disclosed that a Stanford Law School professor, David Mills, is also consulting with Sam Bankman-Fried on the incident.
Previously it had been reported that Mills had been doing advisory work for the former CEO of FTX. Cohen had worked in the Eastern District of New York as an assistant US attorney.
He also gained notoriety for defending Ghislaine Maxwell in her lawsuit related to sex trafficking. Sam Bankman-Fried had previously been working with a different law firm named Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
Martin Flumenbaum had been representing him, but last month, the company said that they had decided to part ways due to conflicts.
As far as Ellison is concerned, her previous counsel had been a Twitter account by the name of WilmerHale.
Sources have revealed that US authorities have reached out to investors of FTX for information. Federal prosecutors have also asked for details about any communications that companies may have had with FTX and its executives.
One source also said that similar information had also been requested by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
These attorneys and sources who want to keep their identity hidden have stated that the US authorities are in search of evidence, which may show that information was materially misrepresented to investors.
It had been previously reported that funds had been transferred secretly by FTX to Alameda Research in order to make up for a shortfall at the trading firm.
Reports had also indicated that senior officials at FTX and Ellison were aware that the crypto exchange had made use of its customer funds in order to help Alameda.
In an interview on Wednesday, Sam Bankman-Fried stated that he had not comingled customer funds knowingly.
He also asserted that he would never try to defraud anyone and he did not believe that he had any criminal liability.