Gary Wang, the co-founder of crypto derivatives exchange FTX, and Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of the crypto trading firm Alameda Research, are currently cooperating in a federal criminal case against Sam Bankman-Fried.
Considered lieutenants of his crypto empire, Wang and Ellison belong to Bankman-Fried’s inner circle and have remained silent about any issue since the controversial collapse and unraveling of FTX.
This is in contrast to what the former FTX CEO was doing prior to his arrest in the Bahamas, as he was seen appearing on various engagements in both mainstream and social media platforms.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) on Wednesday night revealed that both Wang and Ellison pleaded guilty to federal criminal fraud charges and are currently cooperating in the case against the once-regarded White Knight of crypto Bankman-Fried.
“I’m announcing that SDNY has filed charges against Caroline Ellison […] and Gary Wang […] in connection with their roles in the frauds that contributed to FTX’s collapse. Both Ms. Ellison and Mr. Wang have pleaded guilty to those charges and both are cooperating with the SDNY,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.
Williams also emphasized that this most recent major development in the controversial case is probably not SDNY’s last announcement.
“As I said last week, this investigation is ongoing and moving very quickly. I also said last week’s announcement would not be our last and let me be clear once again, neither is today’s,” he noted, suggesting that more major announcements related to the case could be in tow.
Aside from Ellison and Wang, the U.S. attorney also confirmed that Bankman-Fried is currently in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is “on his way back to the United States.”
Bankman-Fried will be transported straight to the Southern District of New York and is set to appear before a judge “as soon as possible.”
Williams also encouraged individuals who have knowledge of the issue to come forward and cooperate with the authorities handling the investigation and warned that their “patience is not eternal.”
Ellison and Wang’s guilty plea is no longer surprising, especially to those closely watching the FTX investigation unfolding.
Previous rumors claimed that Ellison could be cutting a deal with prosecutors, which veteran lawyers believe is in her best interest.
Wang’s decision is not at all unexpected since, in one of Bankman-Fried’s previous interviews, he noted that the co-founder of the bankrupt FTX was “scared.”
Of those in SBF’s inner circle, only Nishad Singh – the FTX director of engineering – who Bankman-Fried said was “ashamed and guilty,” is unaccounted for.