Ryan Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is reportedly discussing a potential guilty plea with U.S. authorities. Salame, a prominent figure at FTX, emerged as a central figure in what U.S. prosecutors are labeling as “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.” Before the founder of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, filed for bankruptcy, Salame had reportedly alerted regulators to suspected wrongdoing within the cryptocurrency empire. The empire was once valued at $32 billion.
According to a Bloomberg report, Salame, responsible for managing FTX’s political contributions and a well-known Republican donor, is considering entering a plea in September. This plea would be related to various charges, including violations of campaign finance laws.
Salame had been investigated for suspected violations of U.S. campaign finance laws, specifically concerning his girlfriend Michelle Bond’s congressional campaign. Allegedly, both individuals exceeded the established federal limits on contributions.
However, Salame has not previously been charged with FTX, and details of a potential plea deal have not been finalized. He could potentially become a witness in Bankman-Fried’s trials, one starting in October 2023 and another in March 2024.
Bankman-Fried is currently maintaining his plea of not guilty to the 12 charges he is facing. Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang have already entered guilty pleas for fraud charges in connection with the FTX case.
In an ongoing legal battle, federal prosecutors in New York are reintroducing a campaign finance charge against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Despite dropping the charge last month due to a technicality, prosecutors plan to incorporate it into a superseding indictment alongside seven existing charges.
Bankman-Fried faced a series of charges last year, including allegations of a multi-billion dollar fraud against investors in FTX. The charges claim he misused customer and investor funds for political donations in an attempt to gain influence in Washington and state capitals.
Although the original campaign finance charge was dropped after the Bahamas declined to extradite Bankman-Fried based solely on that count, prosecutors aim to address this matter by incorporating it into the existing charges. They argue that Bankman-Fried’s alleged campaign finance scheme was intertwined with the wire fraud and money laundering schemes detailed in the indictment.
This strategic move demonstrates the prosecutors’ determination to address all aspects of the case and seek justice accordingly.
Bankman-Fried stepped down from his role at FTX, a cryptocurrency exchange, in November 2022 following the company’s swift collapse and declaration of bankruptcy. In the following month, he was charged with a range of alleged crimes related to a scheme aimed at defrauding investors.