FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried can meet his legal team outside the court, but he needs to provide a 48-hour notice.

SBF Considered Raising Funds From Saudi Crown Prince

  • SBF planned to raise capital via an investment from the Saudi Crown Prince.
  • Ellison claimed Bankman-Fried used his appearance as a media strategy to sell himself as a simple crypto founder.

The prosecutor’s key witness, Caroline Ellison, endured an emotional moment in court on Wednesday as she recalled the final moments of the cryptocurrency empire she helped create, having testified for more than nine hours over the course of two days.

28-year-old Ellison made several shocking revelations about Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), her former boss and flame, during her testimony. Ellison testified that Bankman-Fried urged his inner circle to commit crimes and lied to his customers. She added that despite her role as CEO of Alameda, SBF was actively managing both the company and FTX.

One of her shocking claims was Bankman-Fried’s plans to raise capital for FTX customers by receiving funds from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Ellison said the Saudi Crown Prince was a potential FTX investor before its collapse in November.

Several reports suggest that Bankman-Fried met with the Saudi Crown Prince in Saudi Arabia almost two weeks before FTX announced its bankruptcy. Some reports claimed that SBF planned to raise $1 billion for FTX. However, Saudi investors were prepared to part with about $250 million, which was the amount a judge demanded as Bankman-Fried’s bail following his detention in the US.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the billionaire prime minister and crown prince of Saudi Arabia. He has invested in blockchain gaming through the country’s sovereign wealth fund. But he remains a controversial figure for his alleged involvement in the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

SBF Wanted a Raid on Binance

Prince Mohammed’s potential investment was one of the details mentioned in Ellison’s online diary, which she called “Things Sam is Freaking Out About.” The former Alameda Research head testified that part of SBF’s obsession was “turning regulators against crypto exchange Binance.”

According to Ellison, Bankman-Fried believed that a raid on Binance was the best way to attract customers from the exchange and improve FTX’s market share. Ellison said SBF had claimed that a raid on Binance was something “regulators had been promising for a while, but it never happened.”

Interestingly, Binance emerged as a possible savior for FTX after news of the platform’s struggles emerged. However, Binance withdrew from the offer after concluding that FTX’s issues were “beyond our control or ability to help.”

Ellison also claimed in her Wednesday afternoon testimony that Bankman-Fried’s messy look was a deliberate PR tactic. She noted that SBF “believed his hair had been very valuable” and assumed that his hair had contributed to his bonuses from his early days as a trader at Jane Street.

Ellison believed her former boss tried to project an image of being a simple founder in the crypto world. Bankman-Fried allegedly tried to sell himself as a focused man who didn’t care about the lavish life of a wealthy businessman.

He told reporters that he drove a Toyota Corolla as proof he was unconcerned with an extravagant lifestyle. Ellison, however, claimed that the Corolla was an integral part of his media plan and that he didn’t begin using it until he had returned his more luxurious company vehicle.

Lawrence Woriji
Lawrence Woriji Verified Author

I have covered some exciting stories in my career as a journalist and find blockchain-related stories very intriguing. I believe Web3 will change the world and want everyone to be a part of it.

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