Former FTX Executive Pleads Guilty to Illegal Campaign Contributions
A former top executive at the failed FTX cryptocurrency exchange has pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to US politicians and operating an unlicensed money transfer business. Ryan Salame, the former co-chief executive of FTX Digital Markets, is the fourth high-ranking official at the company to plead guilty to criminal charges.
Asset Forfeiture and Witness Testimony
- As part of a deal with prosecutors, Salame has agreed to forfeit up to $1.55 billion in assets.
- He may also be called as a witness in the trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Illegal Campaign Contributions
- Salame admitted to illegally using millions of dollars from a hedge fund controlled by Bankman-Fried to make political contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.
- The purpose of these donations was to fund political initiatives supported by Bankman-Fried.
Supporting Pro-Crypto Politicians
- Private messages obtained by prosecutors revealed that Bankman-Fried wanted to support politicians in both parties who were “pro crypto.”
- He also sought to remove “anti crypto” lawmakers from office.
Upcoming Trial and Guilty Pleas
- Bankman-Fried is awaiting trial on charges of fraud, illegal campaign contributions, and other crimes.
- Three other executives close to Bankman-Fried have already pleaded guilty.
- Before FTX collapsed and declared bankruptcy, Bankman-Fried was a well-known US crypto entrepreneur.
- His company hired celebrities, such as Larry David, to appear in TV ads.
- Bankman-Fried and his associates were also significant contributors to political campaigns.