Former FTX executive Ryan Salame is planning to plead guilty to criminal charges over the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange, according to people familiar with the case.
(Bloomberg) — Former FTX executive Ryan Salame is planning to plead guilty to criminal charges over the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange, according to people familiar with the case.
Salame, who was the co-chief executive of FTX’s Bahamas subsidiary before the exchange imploded last November, is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court on Thursday afternoon after lengthy negotiations with prosecutors.
A lawyer for Salame didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The likely plea comes less than a month before FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried is due to stand trial on charges that he orchestrated a multibillion dollar fraud. Prosecutors claim Bankman-Fried misused FTX customer funds for personal expenses, high-risk bets through affiliated hedge fund Alameda Research and political donations meant to influence crypto regulation.
Read More: Ex-FTX Executive Salame Talking to Prosecutors About Plea Deal
Salame was a member of Bankman-Fried’s inner-circle and a prolific political donor, spending $24 million in support of Republican campaigns during his time at FTX. Prosecutors allege Bankman-Fried used Salame, who ran FTX’s Bahamas subsidiary, and other executives as straw donors.
It remains unclear whether Salame’s planned plea means he will cooperate with the government and testify against Bankman-Fried. Three of Bankman-Fried’s other close associates — Alameda Chief Executive Officer Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and engineering chief Nishad Singh all previously pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate in the hopes of receiving lighter sentences.
A spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
Regardless of whether he testifies, Salame’s plea will add another element to the prosecution’s case against Bankman-Fried weeks out from trial. While prosecutors withdrew a campaign finance law charge against the 31-year-old earlier this year, the government has incorporated the alleged political donations scheme into other counts in the case.
–With assistance from Chris Dolmetsch.
(Updates with background on case)
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