Former FTX executive Ryan Salame has entered a plea of guilty to criminal campaign finance violation charges in a Manhattan court, Thursday. This development comes in the wake of an ongoing investigation into his alleged involvement in unlawful contributions and defrauding the Federal Election Commission.
Appearing before Judge Kaplan, who is also presiding over the case of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, Salame admitted to conspiring to make illicit contributions, a charge that has significant ramifications for the embattled ex-executive. In a significant turn of events, Salame has agreed to forfeit a staggering $1.5 billion as part of his plea deal with the Department of Justice.
The initial report of Salame’s guilty plea was first broken by Bloomberg, prior to his court appearance. Salame, formerly the co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is believed to have managed political donations on behalf of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange’s executives.
The legal saga surrounding Salame began in April, when FBI agents conducted a raid on his residence in Washington, D.C. While he was accused of funneling $24 million to Republicans utilizing FTX customer funds, formal criminal charges have yet to be announced. Nevertheless, The New York Times has indicated that Salame is under investigation for potential campaign finance violations.
These recent developments coincide with FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s own preparations for a criminal trial set to commence in October. Bankman-Fried’s request for immediate release from prison was recently denied, adding further complexity to an already high-profile case.
As the legal proceedings continue, the cryptocurrency community and the wider financial industry will be closely watching the outcomes of these significant trials.