Former FTX Exec Ryan Salame Sentenced to 7.5 Years in Prison

Former FTX co-CEO Ryan Salame was sentenced yesterday to 90 months in prison, according to Damian Lewis, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Salame previously pled guilty to conspiring to make illegal political contributions and defraud the Federal Election Commission and to conspiracy to run an unlicensed money-transmitting business before US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who handed down today’s sentence.

Ryan Salame’s Sentencing

As per the official press release, Salame served as the co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, the company’s Bahamas-based subsidiary, from 2019 to 2021.

His legal representatives argued that he should be sentenced to no more than the minimum term of 18 months. They advocated for leniency by citing that he was the first FTX exec to notify Bahamian authorities about potential fraud in late 2022, just before the company’s bankruptcy filing.

The US probation authorities, on the other hand, recommended an even more severe punishment – a 10-year prison sentence.

Commenting on the sentencing, Williams said,

“Ryan Salame agreed to advance the interests of FTX, Alameda Research, and his co-conspirators through an unlawful political influence campaign and through unlicensed money transmitting business, which helped FTX grow faster and larger by operating outside of the law.

Salame’s involvement in two serious federal crimes undermined public trust in American elections and the integrity of the financial system. Today’s sentence underscores the substantial consequences for such offenses.”

Allegations Against Salame

Filngs and statements made during court proceedings revealed that Salame collaborated with Bankman-Fried and others to run an unlicensed money-transmitting business, using FTX, Alameda Research, and “North Dimension” to transmit customer funds without proper licensing.

They also allegedly made false statements to US banks to sustain these illicit activities. Additionally, from around 2020, Salame, Bankman-Fried, and FTX executive Nishad Singh conspired to donate campaign contributions in a manner that concealed SBF’s involvement.

These donations aimed to boost Bankman-Fried’s reputation in Washington, D.C., enhance FTX’s visibility, and gain favor with candidates that are favorable to their interests. This involved over 300 unlawful political contributions totaling tens of millions of dollars, made under pretenses and leading to incorrect reporting to the Federal Election Commission.

In addition to the prison term, the 30-year-old former FTX exec received three years of supervised release. He was also slapped with over $6 million forfeiture and ordered to provide restitution exceeding $5 million.

Earlier this year, Bankman-Fried received a 25-year prison sentence after being found guilty of using billions of dollars in customer deposits to cover risky investments made by his hedge fund, Alameda Research.

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