EX FTX Executive is Considering a Plea Deal with Prosecutors
- Some FTX executives are reportedly cooperating with prosecutors in the case against Bankman-Fried.
- Bankman-Fried will face trial for seven charges in October, while a second trial is scheduled for March 2024.
- It remains unclear if prosecutors will recruit Salame as one of their witnesses in the October trial of Bankman-Fried.
Ryan Salame, the former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is in negotiations with federal prosecutors to enter a plea to criminal charges connected to the exchange’s downfall in November 2022. According to a Bloomberg article citing sources familiar with the matter, Salame could enter a plea as early as next month, ahead of Bankman-Fried’s trial scheduled for early October.
It remains unclear if Salame will testify against his former colleague. Salame has not yet been charged in relation to FTX, and the specifics of a potential plea agreement are still being worked out.
Other FTX and Alameda Research executives, including Gary Wang, Caroline Ellison, and Nishad Singh, have already entered guilty pleas to the charges in the FTX case. Prosecutors plan to use them as evidence in their case against Bankman-Fried.
US prosecutors have reportedly been looking into Salame for possible violations of US campaign finance law in connection with his girlfriend Michelle Bond’s congressional race. Prosecutors believe that both parties exceeded the contribution limit.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in the Bankman-Fried case have expressed plans to argue that the former FTX CEO violated campaign finance laws in their October court battle, despite recently withdrawing that charge.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams wrote in a letter to Judge Lewis Kaplan on Tuesday that the “superseding indictment will make clear that Mr. Bankman-Fried remains charged with conducting an illegal campaign finance scheme as part of the fraud and money laundering schemes originally charged.”
Williams added in the letter:
The defendant’s use of customer deposits to conduct a political influence campaign was part of the wire fraud scheme charged in the original indictment. And as part of the originally charged money laundering scheme, the defendant also concealed the source of his fraudulent proceeds through political straw donations.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas a month after FTX filed for bankruptcy and then extradited to the United States, where he was charged with playing a part in the exchange’s collapse. The US Department of Justice initially announced eight charges against the 31-year-old. However, the DOJ added five new charges in February and March.
But, the DOJ was forced to drop charges of campaign finance violations after the defense filed a motion claiming that it was not part of the extradition treaty with the Bahamas. Prosecutors are also working to revoke Bankman-Fried’s bail after accusing him of witness tampering.