A second former official with FTX has entered a guilty plea in the United States in connection with a case arising from the spectacular failure and bankruptcy of the once-prominent cryptocurrency exchange.
One of the most senior officials at the company, Ryan Salame, admitted that he had broken the laws governing campaign funding and that he had run an illegal money-transmitting operation.
He consented to hand over more than $1.5 billion (about £1.2 billion) to the authorities.
The pleading takes place in advance of the trial of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, which is scheduled to take place in October.
After FTX filed for bankruptcy the previous year, leading to many users being unable to withdraw their funds, Mr. Bankman-Fried, the self-proclaimed former “King of Crypto,” was arrested on fraud charges and brought to justice.
The decline is claimed to have been caused by a vast conspiracy that was led by Mr. Bankman-Fried, according to the prosecutors. It is alleged that he misappropriated funds from clients and investors of FTX in order to pay for real estate, make political contributions, and plug losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research.
He has rejected the charges, and he was just sent to jail to await trial for the upcoming case.
In 2019, Mr. Salame began his employment at Alameda, at which time he also assumed the role of co-chief of FTX’s Bahamas branch and became a significant political donor.
After former Alameda chief executive officer Caroline Ellison, former FTX technology chief Gary Wang, and former FTX engineering chief Nishad Singh, he is the fourth top executive from Mr. Bankman-Fried’s enterprises to plead guilty to charges.
Mr. Salame stated on Thursday that he had broken the law by unlawfully donating millions of dollars, using money that came from Alameda, as well as using phony names to do so. He had also exceeded the allowed donation limits.
It was also claimed by the prosecutors that he was involved in the use of Alameda accounts to handle FTX customer funds, and that he misrepresented the activities to the bank that was involved. The bank had requested additional due diligence and proper registration when it was asked to interact directly with FTX.
“Ryan Salame agreed to advance the interests of FTX, Alameda Research, and his co-conspirators through an unlawful political influence campaign and through an unlicensed money transmitting business,” said prosecutor Damian Williams, who is the United States attorney for the southern district of New York. “This helped FTX grow faster and larger by operating outside of the law,” said prosecutor Damian Williams. “Ryan Salame is a co-conspirator in this case.”
According to Reuters, the authorities have stated that they are willing to accept $6 million, two houses in Massachusetts, and a 2021 Porsche as part of the plea deal, despite the fact that Mr. Salame has promised to turn up $1.5 billion.