Former FTX US president Brett Harrison accused FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF)of “gaslighting and manipulation” in a Twitter thread on Jan. 14. Harrison left FTX.US in September 2022, two months earlier than SBF’s crypto empire collapsed.
Sharing his expertise through the 17 months operating FTX US, Harrison mentioned that SBF resorted to slicing him off from essential choices in regards to the US division of FTX when issues soured between the 2.
SBF requested his former colleague Harrison to affix FTX US “casually over textual content” in late March 2021. Harrison joined the agency in Might and labored “largely independently” of SBF for the primary few months.
However issues modified as Harrison seen that SBF made impactful choices about FTX US “with out warning” regardless of being “not often engaged” within the FTX.US enterprise. In consequence, by October 2021, “pronounced cracks” developed between Harrison and SBF, the previous wrote.
Harrison started pushing for “establishing separation and independence” for the chief, authorized, and developer groups of FTX US, however SBF disagreed. Harrison wrote:
“I noticed in that early battle his [SBF’s] complete insecurity and intransigence when his choices had been questioned, his spitefulness, and the volatility of his temperament. I noticed he wasn’t who I remembered.”
On the time, SBF’s affect over FTX companions, the media, enterprise capital companies, and the standard monetary trade was “pervasive and unyielding,” Harrison wrote. Furthermore, SBF was a outstanding political donor and dined with the who’s who of Washington. Detailing his dilemma, Harison added:
“Standing as much as an insecure, prideful supervisor is tough beneath any circumstance. However it’s practically unimaginable when day-after-day, each main voice of tradition and commerce deafens you with a story that suggests for those who disagree along with your supervisor *you* clearly should be improper.”
Harrison stood as much as him regardless of feeling “large stress to not disagree” with SBF. And he was not the one employees of FTX US who disagreed with SBF’s choices.
Harrison recounted that the expertise and understanding of FTX US workers had been continuously handled as “irrelevant and worthless,” which made it “extraordinarily irritating” for all employees.
Over the next months, Harrison advocated for implementing a “wise hiring coverage” and using skilled C-suite officers in FTX US. He additionally pushed for “clear communication” between SBF and the management group of the US division.
Harrison argued to have FTX co-founder Gary Wang and engineering chief Nishad Singh’s obligations “formally recognized” and shared amongst a bigger group. Moreover, Harrison urged increasing “managerial accountability and controls” past SBF and his inside circle.
These disagreements elicited an unpalatable response from SBF, Harrison wrote.
“Sam was uncomfortable with battle. He responded at occasions with dysregulated hostility, at occasions with gaslighting and manipulation, however in the end selected to isolate me from communication on key decision-making.”
Harrison needed to scramble to search out out details about the choices made behind his again, “however making an attempt onerous to not present it.”
In early April 2022, Harrison put up one final struggle by making a written formal criticism about what he perceived to be the “largest organizational issues inhibiting FTX’s future success.” Within the criticism, he talked about resigning if the problems weren’t fastened.
In response, an govt “threatened” Harrison on behalf of SBF. Harrison was warned that except he formally withdrew his criticism, he could be sacked and see his skilled fame annihilated by SBF.
Harrison was additionally requested to ship an apology to SBF that had been drafted for him. This incident solidified Harrison’s resolve to depart FTX US, he wrote. In consequence, he steadily “wound down” as a substitute of going abruptly to keep away from impacting the agency negatively and end ongoing initiatives.
The revelations of fraud that turned public quickly after the collapse of FTX are “tough for me to assimilate into actuality,” Harrison wrote. Nevertheless, he added that the organizational and administration points he had highlighted throughout his tenure had been typical in rising startups.
“I by no means might have guessed that underlying these sorts of points — which I’d seen at different extra mature companies in my profession and believed to not be deadly to enterprise success — was multi-billion-dollar fraud.”
Harrison added that the fraud was perpetrated by SBF and his inside circle — as evident from indictments and responsible pleas — and that he and different FTX US workers had no half in it.
He said that the felony actions had been “rigorously hid” from FTX US executives as a result of these executives had in depth skilled networks, “our personal traces of communication with US regulators, and our personal authority to talk to US media.”
Harrison mentioned that if any FTX US executives had any suspicions in regards to the felony actions, they might have instantly knowledgeable the authorities.