The term exceeded the sentence recommended by prosecutors

Former FTX senior executive Ryan Salame received 7,5 years in prison in the US

29.05.2024 - 12:22

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3 min

What’s new? A US court has sentenced the former head of the Bahamas division of the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, Ryan Salame, to 7,5 years in prison. The verdict exceeded the 5-7 years in prison requested by prosecutors, although Salame pleaded guilty to campaign fundraising and money transfer violations. Judge Lewis Kaplan said Salame’s actions jeopardized the stability of political life in the country.

Material by Bloomberg

What else is known? Salame was not accused of involvement in the multibillion-dollar fraud for which FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried previously received a 25-year prison sentence. He was charged with violating campaign finance laws and operating an unlicensed money-transfer service.

The defense pushed for a maximum of 18 months in prison, but the judge found that Salame was clearly aware of the illegality of his actions and sought to conceal them. At the same time, Salame’s positive characteristics while serving his sentence left Salame with the possibility of being released after 4,5 years.

According to prosecutors, Salame promoted the interests of FTX and its affiliated hedge fund Alameda Research through an illegal political campaign and unlicensed payment business. His actions reportedly enabled significant business growth for FTX, which also operated in violation of the law. The senior executive pleaded guilty last September.

In doing so, he informed the Bahamas regulator about the fraud on the exchange two days before its collapse in November 2022. He later handed over 595 000 pages of internal documentation to authorities.

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The investigation revealed that the exchange sought to fund both Democrats and Republicans in an effort to influence the formation of crypto regulation. According to Kaplan, the amount of money circulating around the political system posed serious risks to it.

Salame also pleaded guilty to allowing FTX customers to deposit fiat currency into a US bank account without obtaining a license.

In turn, the charge against Bankman-Fried was supported by three key witnesses: FTX co-founder Gary Wang, the exchange’s CTO Nishad Singh and Alameda Research head Caroline Allison. They all pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Bankman-Fried in hopes of lighter sentences. They will go on trial later this year. Salame did not appear as a cooperating witness in the FTX founder’s case.

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