Mountain of FTX Evidence: Emails, Chat Logs, Code and a Notebook

Snippets of laptop code. More than six million pages of emails, Slack messages and different digital information. And a small black pocket book, full of handwritten observations.

For months, federal prosecutors constructing the felony case in opposition to the fallen cryptocurrency govt Sam Bankman-Fried have assembled a huge and unusually diverse array of proof. The paperwork embody crypto transaction logs and encrypted group chats from Mr. Bankman-Fried’s collapsed alternate, FTX, in addition to strikingly private reflections recorded by a key witness within the case.

The mountain of proof ranks among the many largest ever collected in a white-collar securities fraud case prosecuted by the federal authorities in Manhattan, in line with information supplied by a particular person with data of the matter. In the 2004 securities fraud prosecution of Martha Stewart, for instance, prosecutors produced 525,000 pages of proof to the protection workforce, however the numbers have elevated considerably in recent times.

The variety and rising quantity of supplies within the FTX case underscore the authorized challenges going through Mr. Bankman-Fried, 31, who’s charged with 13 felony counts, together with accusations that he misappropriated billions of {dollars} in buyer cash, defrauded traders and violated marketing campaign finance legal guidelines. He has pleaded not responsible.

With the trial set for October, prosecutors have gathered proof starting from telephones and laptops to the contents of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s Google accounts, which amounted to 2.5 million pages alone. At a listening to in March, Nicolas Roos, a federal prosecutor investigating FTX, stated the federal government had obtained a laptop computer filled with a lot info that the FBI’s technicians have been struggling to decipher all of it.

“It is a huge quantity to sift by means of, and typically you will discover extremely helpful info,” stated Moira Penza, a former federal prosecutor who’s now in non-public apply. “It is a actual problem.”

Typically, the proof in a felony case stays largely secret till proper earlier than trial. But in Mr. Bankman-Fried’s case, interviews and a overview of latest court docket filings have provided an early glimpse of the idiosyncratic array of information that the FTX prosecutors have collected.

The investigation started in November, after FTX’s collapse despatched the crypto market into turmoil. Almost as quickly because the alternate folded, prosecutors began gathering paperwork, sending subpoenas to FTX workers and looking for information from the political campaigns that Mr. Bankman-Fried financed.

The requests have been usually broad. One one who bought a subpoena stated prosecutors wished each doc associated to FTX and dispatched a group of information specialists who took days to extract the data from a set of gadgets.

While a lot of what prosecutors have gathered is typical company fare, different materials factors to the weird private dynamics at FTX.

The black pocket book, described as a diary, belonged to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s on-and-off girlfriend, Caroline Ellison, a former prime lieutenant in his enterprise empire, three folks accustomed to the matter stated.

Ms. Ellison, who was chief govt of FTX’s sister firm, the hedge fund Alameda Research, additionally recorded observations about Mr. Bankman-Fried in a collection of digital paperwork which have circulated amongst legal professionals within the case, three folks with data of the matter stated. At occasions, two of the folks stated, Ms. Ellison expressed private and skilled resentment in the direction of Mr. Bankman-Fried.

Lawyers and representatives for Mr. Bankman-Fried and Ms. Ellison both declined to remark or didn’t reply to requests for touch upon the proof within the case. A spokesperson for federal prosecutors in Manhattan declined to touch upon the invention course of.

Ms. Ellison is predicted to be a essential witness. She has pleaded responsible to fraud prices together with two different prime executives, Gary Wang and Nishad Singh, and agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors pursuing Mr. Bankman-Fried. In the times after FTX collapsed, she confessed to Alameda workers that she, Mr. Bankman-Fried, Mr. Wang and Mr. Singh had used FTX buyer funds to fill holes in Alameda’s accounts. She additionally dated Mr. Bankman-Fried and lived with him in a penthouse within the Bahamas, the place the alternate was based mostly.

Any private writings from her or different witnesses could be helpful to protection legal professionals throughout cross-examination, Ms. Penza stated.

“The greatest threat with a cooperator is that the protection will be capable of say right here she is cooperating to avoid wasting herself from a lengthy jail time period,” she stated. “But trendy juries are usually not more likely to take at face worth they’re testifying as a result of of a vendetta or a failed romance.”

Many of FTX’s company information, together with emails, Slack messages and transaction logs, have been held by Sullivan & Cromwell, the legislation agency that took management of the alternate after it declared chapter.

In a latest court docket submitting, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals argued that the prosecutors had relied on Sullivan & Cromwell to function their de facto agent in acquiring paperwork from the corporate. The legal professionals claimed that by “outsourcing” this course of to the agency, prosecutors have been avoiding their obligation to show over doubtlessly useful proof to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s protection workforce.

The detective work by Sullivan & Cromwell — which has submitted payments totaling $55 million to the chapter court docket — is already proving useful to prosecutors. In a January court docket submitting, Sullivan & Cromwell displayed an excerpt from FTX’s underlying code base, exhibiting a characteristic that allowed Alameda to borrow nearly limitless quantities of cash from the alternate.

In an e mail to Sullivan & Cromwell legal professionals that month, Mr. Roos requested FTX transaction logs for accounts owned by Mr. Bankman-Fried, Ms. Ellison, Mr. Wang, Mr. Singh and two different folks, whose names have been redacted, in line with court docket information. He additionally sought information of a group chat on the encrypted messaging app Signal, titled “Donation Processing,” the place FTX executives mentioned marketing campaign finance issues.

Prosecutors have additionally seized proof instantly from executives in Mr. Bankman-Fried’s orbit. Last month, the FBI executed a search warrant on the $4 million Maryland residence of Ryan Salame, a high-ranking FTX govt who donated tens of tens of millions of {dollars} to Republican candidates, together with George Santos, the lately indicted congressman from Long Island, NY.

The brokers took Mr. Salame’s cell phone in addition to a telephone belonging to his girlfriend, Michelle Bond, a crypto lobbyist, two folks with data of the matter stated. Ms. Bond ran unsuccessfully for Congress final yr as a Republican in one other district on Long Island.

Throughout the yr, prosecutors have been turning over their proof to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal professionals, a course of generally known as discovery.

At the listening to in March, Mr. Roos gave a detailed replace on the method, explaining to the decide overseeing the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, that prosecutors had obtained 4 laptops, together with the system so giant that it was proving sophisticated to investigate. That laptop computer belonged to Mr. Wang, two folks with data of the matter stated.

Lawyers for Mr. Wang, Mr. Salame and Ms. Bond didn’t reply to requests for remark.

Mr. Roos additionally stated the federal government had handed over to the protection workforce practically a million paperwork obtained from witnesses and different third events within the case.

“We have produced 927,000,” he stated. “So that leaves, fast math, possibly 110,000.”

“Bedtime studying,” Judge Kaplan replied.

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