Salame has not yet made an official plea, and is expected to enter a plea deal with prosecutors, which could improve their case against FTX.
A former FTX executive is reportedly negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors as the case against the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange continues. According to a Tuesday Bloomberg report, FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame is discussing details of a possible plea deal with details currently unknown.
The report states that the plea deal will involve several offenses allegedly committed, including campaign finance law offenses. According to people familiar with the matter, as referenced by Bloomberg, Salame may enter the plea deal next month. However, no one is currently sure whether or not the former exec will offer sensitive information to prosecutors or openly testify against the exchange or Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF).
Salame was a regular donor who pumped out a lot of money to support Republican candidates while he was the top man at FTX’s Bahamas arm. Since the collapse, he has been under heavy investigatory pressure, with prosecutors looking into his activities during his time there. Salame reportedly donated a total of $24 million to support several political campaigns.
The report also states that Salame’s girlfriend, Michelle Bond, was one of the recipients of the former exec’s heavy donations. Bond headed crypto advocacy company Association for Digital Asset Markets and contested for a congressional seat in New York, partaking in a GOP primary last year. Although the campaign failed, it received several thousand dollars in donations from Salame, former FTX chief regulatory officer Daniel Friedberg, and others. As part of SBF’s allegations, prosecutors say the co-founder deliberately used FTX staff and executives as straw donors. This was allegedly to influence crypto regulations in Washington D.C.
Salame to Enter Plea Deal as Other FTX Staff Plead Guilty
SBF already pleaded not guilty to eight federal charges in January. The former CEO made the official plea in New York against the charges, which include wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to misuse customer funds. In March, he also pleaded not guilty to five additional bribery and fraud charges. Prosecutors have now completely dropped one campaign finance charge.
A few of Salame’s former colleagues, including Nishad Singh, Caroline Ellison, and Gary Wang, have all pleaded guilty to partaking in the fraud that eventually crashed FTX. These former co-workers will also be witnesses against SBF in the case. While these people have already pleaded guilty and would support the government’s case, the sector is still awaiting details on Salame and his possible plea deal.
In March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) visited Salame and Bond’s Maryland home and confiscated their phones. Although there are no official charges against Bond, Salame allegedly received tens of millions of dollars in loans via Alameda Research, FTX’s sister company and crypto investment firm.
During the ongoing investigation, prosecutors found that Salame bought a private plane while he was an FTX exec. There are now speculations that Salame would lose his private jet as part of the potential plea deal or for repayment to creditors as bankruptcy dealings continue.
Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
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