F.B.I. Searches Home of Top FTX Executive

The FBI raided the home of former FTX executive Ryan Salaam in Potomac, Maryland, on Thursday morning, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Salameh, who ran FTX’s Bahamas subsidiary, was part of the advisory group around crypto exchange founder Sam Bankman-Fried until the company filed for bankruptcy in November.

Federal prosecutors have indicted Bankman-Fried on charges of mass fraud and orchestrating an illegal campaign finance program on FTX. He promised to fight the charges. Three of his former executives have pleaded guilty in connection with the investigation and agreed to cooperate against his former boss.

Salameh has been in particular spotlight for his $24 million campaign fund during last year’s midterm elections. In court filings, federal officials allege that a large portion of the $90 million donated to political candidates by a handful of former FTX employees, including Salaam, was diverted from the exchange’s customers.

A search of Salameh’s $4 million home shows the investigation into the FTX collapse is not complete as federal officials prepare for Bankman-Fried’s trial, which is set for October. I’m here. They are scrutinizing a string of employees and advisers in the former crypto mogul’s orbit, including Bankman-Fried’s brother.

Salameh’s attorney, Jason Linder, did not respond to a request for comment.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

It’s unclear what authorities were looking for during the search, which took place around 7 a.m., according to a person who sent a photo of FBI agents gathered outside the home to the New York Times.

Born in Sandisfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts. Mr. Salame After working for EY, a global accounting and consulting firm better known as Ernst & Young, he worked for Bankman-Fried at Alameda Research, a cryptocurrency hedge fund based in Hong Kong.

He soon became one of Bankman-Fried’s most loyal and trusted lieutenants. Following FTX’s move to the Bahamas in 2021, Salameh was appointed co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, the exchange’s Bahamian entity, acting as an intermediary between the company and local governments.

As the cryptocurrency market boomed and FTX reached a $32 billion valuation, Salameh amassed a fortune. FTX Bankruptcy Lawyer and Advisor said in March Salameh received an $87 million bonus and loan from Alameda.

Salameh flew back and forth between Washington and the Bahamas and began dating Michelle Bond. Bond runs a cryptocurrency lobbying group and unsuccessfully ran for Congress as a Republican from Long Island.At his home in Berkshire, Mr Salameh bought Several local restaurants, some struggling during the pandemic, earned him a reputation as a hometown hero.

Salameh and Bond also bought a house in the Washington, D.C. suburbs that was raided on Thursday.

Prosecutors say Bankman-Fried organized a “Strodner” scheme to circumvent restrictions on campaign contributions, recruiting executives to work on behalf of his company, and donating tens of millions of dollars to both parties. said.

A recent revised version of the indictment against Bankman-Fried said Salame’s donation was part of the plan, saying the FTX founder wanted to “keep hidden” his support for Republican politicians. identified.

Emily Fritter contributed to the report.

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