Ryan Salame once co-CEO at FTX‘s Bahamas subsidiary, FTX DM, is reportedly in talks with federal prosecutors that could see him plead guilty to criminal charges related to the collapse of the crypto exchange, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 8.
Though Bloomberg described the negotiations underway as a plea deal, the news outlet said it is unclear whether Salame will agree to testify against FTX’s co-founder and former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, as other associates have done.
Officials have not announced the negotiations or any possible charges. Instead, Bloomberg obtained its information from private, unnamed sources.
Salame’s campaign financing activities are key
Bloomberg did not identify the complete list of charges that Salame potentially faces. However, it said that violations of campaign financing law are among the charges that prosecutors intend to file against the former exchange executive.
Bloomberg noted that Salame spent $24 million to support Republican candidates. While past reports suggest that those donations went to PACs and Super PACs, Bloomberg noted that Salame made a $400,000 donation to support his partner, Michelle Bond — a candidate in the 2022 GOP primary for a New York congressional seat. Any of those transactions could be considered improper use of company or investor money.
Salame’s possible campaign financing violations are highly relevant because former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried faces similar charges concerning his own donations. Prosecutors said in court on Aug. 8 that they plan to charge Bankman-Fried on those grounds in spite of earlier reports that they would withdraw those charges.
FTX’s overall political donations are estimated between $70 and $80 million. The company made donations in support of Republicans and Democrats alike.
Former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh, who made donations alongside Bankman-Fried and Salame, reached a plea deal in February 2023.
Other FTX and Alameda Research associates, including Gary Wang and Caroline Ellison, reached separate plea deals in December 2022.
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