Former FTX US President Brett Harrison has lashed out at Sam Bankman-Fried for manipulating and threatening colleagues who proposed solutions to reorganize FTX US’ management structure.
Harrison shared his experiences with Bankman-Fried and FTX US on Jan. 14, explaining how he was hired “casually over text” in March 2021 after working together at New York-based trading firm Jane Street for a few years.
But six months into Harrison’s tenure at FTX US, “cracks began to form” between the two, he said.
Despite recalling Bankman-Fried to be a “sensitive and intellectually curious person” at first, Harrison said he saw “total insecurity and intransigence” in Bankman-Fried when confronted with conflict, particularly when Harrison suggested FTX US establish separate branches for its executive, developer and legal teams.
Harrison added that he “wasn’t sure what accounted for the dramatic change” in Bankman-Fried’s erratic behavior, though he suspected mental health issues may have been a “contributing factor.”
Part of that irrational behavior Harrison describes included a series of gaslighting and manipulation tactics Bankman-Fried used against Harrison and other colleagues in their bid to clean up FTX US’ corporate mess.
Harrison also recalled his last attempt to fix FTX US’ organization issues with Bankman-Fried, claiming that he threatened to “destroy my professional reputation” if a formally apology wasn’t received:
Harrison said that event “solidified” his decision to leave.
As for the fraud charges now laid against Bankman-Fried and other FTX colleagues, Harrison said he was blinded by the firm’s alleged commingling and misuse of billions of dollars of customer funds:
“I never could have guessed that underlying these kinds of issues — which I’d seen at other more mature firms in my career and believed not to be fatal to business success — was multi-billion-dollar fraud.”
“If any one of us had suspected let alone learned the truth, we would have reported them immediately,” he added.