Two former top executives of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading empire have pleaded guilty to the federal charges and are cooperating in the criminal case against the disgraced crypto entrepreneur, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said Wednesday night.
The two are Caroline Ellison, CEO of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading firm Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, a founder of crypto exchange FTX.
The guilty pleas and co-operation agreements are a major step forward in the fraud case against Mr Bankman-Fried, who is in US custody after agreeing to his extradition from the Bahamas earlier Wednesday.
Mr. Bankman-Fried has been accused of orchestrating a multi-year scam that diverted billions of customer funds to other uses, including buying properties in the Bahamas, trading crypto at Alameda, donating to campaigns, and investing in other crypto companies. Prosecutors allege he defrauded clients, investors and lenders at his crypto trading firm, which was once one of the largest in the world before it went bankrupt last month.
US Attorney Damian Williams also said Mr. Bankman-Fried is now in FBI custody and was flown back to the United States on Wednesday night and would appear before a judge as soon as possible. He is due to appear in court on Thursday.
Lawyers for Ms Ellison were not immediately available for comment. Ilan Graff, Mr. Wang’s attorney, said, “Gary has accepted responsibility for his actions and takes his duties as a cooperating witness seriously.”
A spokesman for Mr. Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
This is an evolving story. Check for updates again.