- Former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, Ryan Salame, had an FBI raid on his home without being formally charged with any crime yet
- Salame is a high-profile political donor who donated $23M, mostly to Republican candidates
- Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, faces 13 criminal charges, including enticing contributions beyond legal restrictions and concealing the source of donations
The FBI officials raided the Potomac, Maryland residence of Ryan Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, on Thursday morning, as per The New York Times reports. In case you didn’t know, FTX Digital Markets is the Bahamian subsidiary of the crypto exchange FTX, which crumbled last year mainly because of the extravagant expenses made by its executives and strong ties with Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund, Alameda.
There has yet to be an official statement regarding the reason behind the FBI’s search, given that Salame has yet to be charged with any offense. Nonetheless, Bloomberg cites two people familiar with the matter, suggesting that Salame’s attorney had previously shared information on campaign finance endeavors.
Ryan Salame is a respected political donor, having given $23 million, primarily to Republicans, last year, categorizing him as the country’s 15th-top donor, as per OpenSecrets. The former CEO of FTX, Bankman-Fried, is looking at 13 criminal charges, including those of conspiring to deceive the Federal Election Commission and commit campaign finance crimes. He’s accused of using FTX executives to channel $100 million in political contributions, enabling him to surpass donation restrictions and keeping the source of money concealed.
With the CoinDesk report raising concerns about the close relationship between FTX and Alameda, FTX fell apart last November, and Bankman-Fried denied all criminal allegations. Besides, Salame alerted the Bahamian authorities about the wrongdoings at the crypto exchange, eventually leading to Bankman-Fried’s detention in the Caribbean nation last December.
So far, the FBI officials and Ryan Salame’s legal team have abstained from commenting on the searches.
SBF on Funneling Money in Political Causes
Sam Bankman-Fried reportedly used two FTX executives to make political contributions, one for “woke” causes and the other for Republican candidates to keep things “dark,” according to sources. Manhattan federal prosecutors suggest that Bankman-Fried channeled over $100 million for political donations from FTX and Alameda Research.
Prosecutors further claimed that Bankman-Fried’s campaign finance scheme served his interest, increased the profile of FTX, and gained favor from potential legislative candidates that could curate policies that benefit his crypto firm. It is alleged that the scheme aimed to push regulations on regulatory oversight over FTX and the cryptocurrency industry.
Besides, Manhattan prosecutors say that Bankman-Fried illegally used funds from FTX’s customers to make political donations. The group involved in the alleged scheme included the CEO, his co-founder Ryan Salame, and the former FTX director of engineering, Nishad Singh.
The revelation comes from a more extensive investigation into Bankman-Fried’s role in campaign finance violations, where he enticed contributions beyond legal restrictions and hid the actual source of money, leading to his arrest in the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried denied the allegations and is facing 13 criminal charges filed against him by Manhattan federal prosecutors.