The FBI raided the home of former FTX executive Ryan Salame on Thursday, according to a report by the New York Times citing two people who have knowledge of the matter.
The report did not specify the objective of the raid, but it doesn’t take much to make an approximate guess.
Salame was the co-CEO of FTX’s operating entity in the Bahamas. Though he played a central role in the company’s affairs, Salame has escaped the worst of the negative press directed at founder Sam Bankman-Fried and Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison.
On the one hand, filings made early on in FTX’s bankruptcy revealed that Salame may have attempted to alert the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) to corporate irregularities in the FTX group, telling the regulator that the exchange was transferring client funds to Alameda on November 9.
On the other hand, by the time Salame reached out to the SCB, the FTX explosion was well underway and the damage had long been done.
Additionally, Salame was among the FTX employees who received massive payments from Alameda Research before the FTX empire collapsed, according to bankruptcy filings. Salame received $87 million from Alameda, the fourth-largest recipient of such payments.
John Ray III, the CEO appointed to take FTX through its bankruptcy proceedings, said in a press release published on behalf of FTX’s debtors that they are “investigating causes of action against the recipients of these transfers and their subsequent transferees.”
Indeed, the three names ahead of Salame on that list—Sam Bankman-Fried, Nishad Singh and Gary Wang—have all been hit with criminal charges.
Similarly, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York released a video statement by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams at the end of 2022:
“If you participated in misconduct at FTX or Alameda, now is the time to get ahead of it. We are moving quickly and our patience is not eternal,” he warned.
Salame had also joined in on Bankman-Fried’s infamous political spending. According to the Federal Election Commission, Salame contributed over $23 million to Republican candidates and organizations in 2022. He was also included in a scathing statement released by U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman following FTX’s initial blow-up in November, laying the blame for stalled digital asset legislation at the feet of both Bankman-Fried and Salame.
Set against the vast Democrat-oriented donations coming from Bankman-Fried, Salame’s activity has led some to suggest that his donations were intended to give the illusion that the FTX-affiliated donations were being made equally across the political spectrum:
It’s looking a bit obvious that @rsalame7926’s political contributions were made to offset the massive Democrat donations from @SBF_FTX and to spark the illusion that there was a balance of political donations coming from @FTX_Official https://t.co/b0XCqUGvwm pic.twitter.com/jhHjPHfsMD
— J//G0Ξ (@JagoeCapital) November 12, 2022
It’s not yet clear exactly what the FBI was after at Salame’s home. Though Salame hasn’t been formally charged in connection with his time at FTX, the $87 million received puts him at number four on a list of FTX executives who received such payments: and the three names ahead of him have all been hit with criminal charges and two—Singh and Wang—have already pleaded guilty. The lone hold-out is Bankman-Fried himself.
Is Salame about to join them in the docket?
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