Acute Focus on Former FTX Manager Ryan Salame
The house of Former FTX co-CEO Ryan Salame was reportedly ransacked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as the executive remains under scrutiny for his close advisory role to Sam Bankman-Fried.
According to a New York Times report on 27 April, citing people familiar with the matter, the FBI searched Salame’s $4 million home in Potomac, Maryland on the morning of 27 April.
It remains not clear what the authorities were looking for. Salame was co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, FTX’s Bahamas-based subsidiary.
Salame was a substantial beneficiary of suspicious loans and payments made to a number of FTX’s top executives through the now-bankrupt trading house Alameda Research.
Salame was the fourth largest recipient of these payments, which totaled $87 million. Bankman-Fried received $2.2 billion, while former technical director Nishad Singh and co-founder Zixiao “Gary” Wang received $587 million and $246 million respectively.
FTX’s new management, headed by lawyer and bankruptcy specialist John Ray III, said at the time that it would continue to explore its rights to take potential action against the recipients as well as their subsequent acquirers, and that ongoing efforts “are expected to result in further identification of assets, liabilities and transfers”.
It added that it was examining the various options available to recover the funds from the former executives.
According to Bahamian court filings dated December 14, 2022, Salame was the first FTX or Alameda Research executive to assist authorities in their investigation. Salame reported to the Securities Commission of the Bahamas (SCB) on 9 November that FTX was funnelling client funds to sister firm Alameda Research.
In addition, Salame told the SCB that the funds were to “cover financial losses of Alameda” and that the transfer was “not authorised or approved by clients”.
He also told the SCB that only three people had the necessary access to transfer client funds to Alameda: Bankman-Fried, Wang and Singh.
According to the state’s donation tracking service Open Secrets, Salame was one of the top political donors in the 2022 election, making more than 200 individual donations totaling more than $23 million to Republican campaigns.