Many of FTX’s corporate records, including emails, Slack messages and transaction logs, were held by Sullivan & Cromwell, the law firm that took control of the exchange after it declared bankruptcy.
In a recent court filing, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s lawyers argued that the prosecutors had relied on Sullivan & Cromwell to serve as their de facto agent in obtaining documents from the company. The lawyers claimed that by “outsourcing” this process to the firm, prosecutors were avoiding their legal responsibility to turn over potential helpful evidence to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s defense team.
The detective work by Sullivan & Cromwell — which has submitted bills totaling $55 million to the bankruptcy court — is already proving beneficial to prosecutors. In a January court filing, Sullivan & Cromwell displayed an excerpt from FTX’s underlying code base, showing a feature that allowed Alameda to borrow virtually unlimited amounts of money from the exchange.
In an email to Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers that month, Mr. Roos requested FTX transaction logs for accounts owned by Mr. Bankman-Fried, Ms. Ellison, Mr. Wang, Mr. Singh and two other people, whose names were redacted, according to court records. He also sought records of a group chat on the encrypted messaging app Signal, titled “Donation Processing,” where FTX executives discussed campaign finance matters.
Prosecutors have also seized evidence directly from executives in Mr. Bankman-Fried’s orbit. Last month, the F.B.I. executed a search warrant at the $4 million Maryland home of Ryan Salame, a high-ranking FTX executive who donated tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates, including George Santos, the recently indicted congressman from Long Island, N.Y.
The agents took Mr. Salame’s mobile phone as well as a phone belonging to his girlfriend, Michelle Bond, a crypto lobbyist, two people with knowledge of the matter said. Ms. Bond ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year as a Republican in another district on Long Island.