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FTX Former Head Agrees to $1.5 Billion Forfeiture

Author: Syedur Rahman  8 September 2023

Syed Rahman details the latest legal developments facing Ryan Salame, former CEO of the collapsed crypto exchange.

The former head of failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX has agreed to forfeit $1.5 billion.

Ryan Salame pleaded guilty at a district court in Manhattan to conspiring to make illicit political donations and to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, in connection with his role in the collapse of FTX.

Court documents show that Salame, who was CEO of Bahamas-based FTX Digital Markets, accepted a forfeiture order totalling $1.5 billion linked to the first offence. He has also agreed to pay $6 million in cash, surrender two properties and give up a Porsche sports car. He is due to be sentenced next year.

Salame is the fourth former executive at FTX or its investment business, Alameda Research, to plead guilty since the US Department of Justice charged FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried last December. Former head of Alameda Research Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and former FTX engineer Nishad Singh are cooperating with authorities’ actions against Bankman-Fried.

Bankman-Fried is due to go on trial in less than a month. He is accused of orchestrating one of the largest financial frauds in the history of the US. Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried misused customer funds to make loans to Alameda Research and pay for venture investments. He is also accused of funding straw donors – individuals who illegally use other people’s money to make political contributions – to influence policy decisions affecting the crypto industry.

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Syedur Rahman is known for his in-depth experience of serious fraud, white-collar crime and serious crime cases, as well as his expertise in worldwide asset tracing and recovery, international arbitration, civil recovery, cryptocurrency and high-stakes commercial disputes.

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