Cryptocurrency NewsFormer Co-CEO of FTX in Talks for Guilty Plea Deal with US...

Former Co-CEO of FTX in Talks for Guilty Plea Deal with US Prosecutors

Ryan Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is reportedly engaged in discussions with US federal prosecutors regarding a potential admission of guilt as part of a plea deal. Sources familiar with the situation, as reported by Bloomberg, indicate that Ryan Salame, who had a close association with Sam Bankman-Fried, is currently negotiating the terms of a guilty plea with US prosecutors.

This guilty plea could potentially occur in September 2023, approximately a month prior to Sam Bankman-Fried’s scheduled trial. However, there is uncertainty surrounding whether Salame will opt to provide testimony against Sam Bankman-Fried during the latter’s trial scheduled for October.

Among the charges leveled against Salame are allegations of violating campaign finance laws. During his tenure at FTX, Salame, a former co-chief, emerged as a significant donor to the Republican Party, reportedly contributing around $24 million to party candidates. Notably, some of these funds were directed to Michelle Bond, who is both Salame’s girlfriend and the CEO of the Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM). Bond herself pursued candidacy in the Republican primary for New York’s 1st congressional district in 2022, though her campaign was unsuccessful. A July 2023 report from the Wall Street Journal revealed that federal investigators in Manhattan were examining Salame and Bond’s activities to ascertain whether they exceeded federal limits on campaign contributions during Bond’s congressional campaign.

Should Salame decide to accept the terms of the plea deal, he would become the fourth close associate of Sam Bankman-Fried to admit guilt following the collapse of FTX in November 2022. Former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison and FTX co-founder Gary Wang previously entered guilty pleas related to various fraud charges in December 2022. Furthermore, FTX’s chief engineer Nishad Singh has sought to collaborate with prosecutors.

In the meantime, it’s important to note that Salame’s campaign finance charge appears to be distinct from the same accusation faced by Sam Bankman-Fried. The latter, a co-founder and former CEO of FTX, has pleaded not guilty to this charge as well as other allegations. Although the US prosecutors dropped a charge against Bankman-Fried related to unlawful campaign donations recently, the US Department of Justice communicated in a letter on August 8 that it still intends to charge him with “conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme” in the upcoming October trial.


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