Sam Bankman-Fried bailed for $250m as his ex-girlfriend turns against him

The inner circle of FTX executives were a “very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals”, according to a bankruptcy filing by restructuring experts hauled in to salvage the company. Media reports, court filings, social media posts and puff pieces written by investors reveal the closely interlinked social and romantic lives of the FTX staff at the heart of the failed company. Ms Ellison and Mr Bankman-Fried met at the Wall Street trading shop Jane Street, where they cut their teeth as young 20-somethings in the world of finance. A now deleted, glowing profile of Bankman-Fried, written by FTX investor Sequoia, describes them as “office buddies” who socialised over EA. Mr Bankman-Fried quit, and six months later met up with Ms. Ellison to convince her to join his new crypto venture, meeting in a coffee shop in Berkeley, California, where Ms. Ellison dressed as a “wood elf” on her way to a “live action role playing party”. Ms Ellison, a Stanford University graduate and Harry Potter fanatic, signed up and became one of 15 early hires working, sleeping and eating takeaways in a California flat at a hedge fund known as Alameda Research. Later, many of them would wind up working in the Bahamas in a luxury penthouse, worth $40m, that digital coin exchange FTX and sister company Alameda used as a base of operations. At some stage, Ms. Ellison and Mr. Bankman-Fried became romantically entangled. Mr Bankman-Fried has admitted he and Ms Ellison were no longer in a romantic relationship in an interview with The New York Times, but declined to comment further. As many as 10 top FTX executives were romantically linked at various stages, according to a report by crypto website CoinDesk, with one source describing them as a “gang of kids in the Bahamas”. Some in the cryptocurrency world have dubbed them a “polycule”, a relationship involving multiple partners, often in open relationships. Ms Ellison, 28, posted on her personal blog that her “foray into poly” was a “radical break from my trad” [traditional] past”. She added: “The only acceptable style of poly is best characterised as something like ‘Imperial Chinese harem’.” Mr Bankman-Fried has not publicly shared his own views, although hit out at media speculation over the relationships at the heart of FTX, telling one YouTube interviewer that “we as a society have, in my humble opinion, spent about enough time this week trying to figure out whether anyone living in Albany was polyamorous.”

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