On Thursday, Gary Wang, former CTO (chief technology officer) of FTX, took a stand during the trial of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX. Wang admitted that he had committed financial crimes with Nishad Singh, the former engineering executive of FTX, Caroline Ellison, the former CEO of Alameda, and Bankman-Fried.
From High School to Scandal: The Unraveling Ties of Bankman-Fried And FTX’s Wang
Gary (Zixiao) Wang testified that they have allowed Alameda Research, the sister company of FTX, to withdraw an unlimited amount of funds from the exchange. He mentioned that these special privileges for the sister company were coded into the systems of FTX.
Inner City Press’ Matthew Russell Lee published the testimony on X.
Originally, Wang first met Bankman-Fried at a summer camp located in Minnesota – both of them were in high school at the time. After finishing college, Wang worked for Google before becoming a part of Bankman-Fried’s crypto trading firm, Alameda Research. When Wang was asked about the whole wire fraud, he said, “We allowed Alameda to withdraw unlimited funds.”
Wang went on to explain that Alameda Research was named after California’s Alameda County, where the company was originally established.
The company had the word ‘research’ in its name because, as per the company’s founder, Bankman-Fried, the world could make opening an account with the bank easy. While Wang owned about 10% of the company, Bankman-Fried owned the remaining 90%.
Wang And FTX: A Billionaire’s Dream!
At FTX, Wang was focussing on coding, while Bankman-Fried looked after media communication, speaking to investors, and lobbying as per the thread on X, thanks to Russell Lee! Wang used to report to Bankman-Fried directly, who basically had the ultimate say in case of any disagreement.
At FTX, Wang’s salary was $200,000, but apart from his salary, he also owned 17% of the organization’s stocks.
This did make him a billionaire, at least on paper, before FTX collapsed. In fact, Prosecutors also presented evidence about Bankman-Fried and Wang’s long-standing relationship as well as the integral role played by Wang at FTX, where he easily enabled special privileges for Alameda.
Wang’s remarks came right after Adam Yedidia’s testimony. As the trial and proceedings are unfolding, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers are getting ready for a detailed cross-examination of the CTO. During the hearing, it was highlighted that Wang had allocated funds for buying a home and also possessed a substantial reserve, earmarked potentially for future startups and ventures.
The prosecution also punctuated their case by simply presenting chosen pictures and playing a certain podcast snippet delving into the roots of Alameda Research’s moniker. The hearing with Wang on Thursday mostly covered his connection with Bankman-Fried and subsequently the alleged wire fraud.