Former FTX executive home raided by FBI Thursday morning at the Potomac, Maryland home of Ryan Salame, a former executive at FTX and a significant campaign contributor to Republican political candidates. According to two sources familiar with the matter, Mr. Salame, who ran FTX’s Bahamian subsidiary and was part of the close circle of advisers around FTX’s founder Sam Bankman-Fried, is under scrutiny over the $24 million in campaign contributions he made during last year’s midterm elections.
The search of Mr. Salame’s $4 million house signals that federal authorities are not done with their investigation into FTX’s collapse as they prepare for Mr. Bankman-Fried’s trial set for October. Mr. Bankman-Fried has been charged with orchestrating a vast fraud and illegal campaign finance scheme at FTX, and three of his former top executives have pleaded guilty in connection with the investigation and agreed to cooperate against their former boss.
Mr. Salame has become enormously wealthy as the crypto market boomed and FTX reached a $32 billion valuation. Bankruptcy lawyers and advisers for FTX said in March that Mr. Salame received $87 million in bonuses and loans from Alameda, the crypto hedge fund that he worked for before joining FTX. He was one of a half-dozen top executives who received a total of $3.2 billion in payouts. However, federal authorities have claimed that most of the $90 million contributed to political candidates by a handful of former FTX employees, including Mr. Salame, had been misappropriated from customers of the exchange.
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Former FTX executive home raided by FBI
Prosecutors have said that Mr. Bankman-Fried orchestrated a “straw donor” scheme to avoid limits on campaign contributions, recruiting executives to serve as proxies for his company and donate tens of millions of dollars to both parties. A revised indictment against Mr. Bankman-Fried recently identified Mr. Salame’s donations as part of the scheme, saying the FTX founder wanted to keep “dark” his support for Republican politicians.
The search of Mr. Salame’s home comes as federal authorities continue to scrutinize an array of employees and advisers in the former crypto mogul’s orbit, including Mr. Bankman-Fried’s younger brother. It is unclear what the authorities were looking for during the search, which took place around 7 a.m. According to a person who sent a photo of FBI agents gathered outside the home to The New York Times, an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter.
In conclusion, the search of Mr. Salame’s home highlights the ongoing investigation into FTX’s collapse and the alleged fraud and illegal campaign finance scheme orchestrated by its founder. Federal authorities are still examining various employees and advisers in the former crypto mogul’s orbit, and the search signals that the investigation is far from over.
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