FTX Collapse: Salame Requests Lenient Sentence, Claims Innocence

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FTX Collapse: Salame Requests Lenient Sentence, Claims Innocence
  • FTX’s Ryan Salame seeks an 18-month term, citing cooperation with authorities.
  • Legal team says Salame’s life and career are already deeply impacted by the FTX scandal.
  • His request comes after FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried received a 25-year sentence.

Ryan Salame, a former executive at the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, has requested a lenient 18-month prison sentence in connection with the fraud case surrounding the company’s collapse. Salame, who pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges, is seeking leniency based on his cooperation with law enforcement and his allegedly lesser role in FTX’s operations.

On Tuesday, Salame’s legal team filed a sentencing memorandum outlining his responsibilities at FTX and Alameda Research. The memorandum emphasizes that Salame’s duties primarily focused on operational tasks such as overseeing customer wire deposits, fiat currency conversions, and leading charitable efforts in the Bahamas. His attorneys argue that this distanced him for the core fraudulent activities that ultimately led to the collapse of FTX.

The memorandum maintains that Salame was unaware of the alleged conspiracy among FTX and Alameda’s top leadership to mislead and steal from customers. “Mr. Salame did not steal from anyone. He did not lie to customers,” his attorneys stated. 

Salame’s legal team further asserts that he was himself deceived by his colleagues. Upon realizing the alleged fraud’s scope, Salame was reportedly the first to notify Bahamian authorities, transpiring their investigation into FTX.

Salame’s cooperation reportedly extended to voluntarily providing crucial documents to the U.S. Attorney’s Office voluntarily, without requiring a subpoena. His attorneys also highlight the ongoing media scrutiny and public criticism Salame faces as a form of lifelong punishment. They argue that his association with Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX will permanently damage his future employment prospects.

The request for leniency, comes after a federal court in the U.S. sentenced Sam Bankman-Fried to 25 years imprisonment for his role in the FTX fraud case. Like Salame, other former FTX executives, including Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang, have also pleaded guilty to charges. They are reportedly negotiating plea deals with U.S. authorities in exchange for reduced sentences.

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