Former FTX exec Ryan Salame sentenced to 7.5 years, above government ask 

The sentencing of former FTX exec Ryan Salame is the first among those who pleaded guilty to crimes related to the exchange’s collapse


ESB Professional/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks


A federal judge sentenced former FTX executive Ryan Salame to 7.5 years in prison in Manhattan Tuesday, according to a report from Bloomberg. 

The ruling falls just above the government’s request of five to seven years in prison. Salame’s team earlier this month asked Judge Lewis Kaplan, who presided over FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial last fall, for 18 months in prison. 

Salame in September pleaded guilty to two counts of campaign finance violations and operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business. By acting as a “straw donor,” the government says, Salame helped “pump more than $100 million dollars in illegal contributions through the US political system to help support Bankman-Fried and FTX’s legislative priorities.” 

Salame is the first among Bankman-Fried’s former associates to be sentenced. He is the only one of the four former FTX executives who pleaded guilty that did not testify against Bankman-Fried during his trial. 

Salame’s minimal cooperation, the prosecution said in their sentencing memo earlier this month, meant his contributions to the case against Bankman-Fried were “relatively minor.” 

Salame did hand over some last-minute information to government attorneys in the days before Bankman-Fried’s trial, the government’s memo added, which was helpful during the cross-examination of some witnesses. But, “none of the information resulted in any significant investigative leads, arrests, or charges,” the government told the court.

When asking for leniency, Salame’s team told the court he “has started a new chapter in his life,” adding that he became a first-time father in November and is working toward becoming a lawyer. 

Read more: Empire Newsletter: FTX bankruptcy almost across the finish line

Salame was “duped” by Bankman-Fried, his attorneys said, and was “the first person to blow the whistle to authorities in the Bahamas” when he uncovered the nature of the fraud. 

The prosecution on Monday evening asked the court to partially vacate and amend the previous forfeiture and money judgment agreements. Salame’s 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S no longer has “sufficient equity to further pursue forfeiture,” the government noted, and should therefore be returned. 

The prosecution also approved Salame’s request for an extension to pay the $6 million he owes the government and asked the court to push the due date for the payment to Sept. 3, 2024. 

Former executives Caroline Ellison, Nishad Singh and Gary Wang, who all testified against Bankman-Fried last fall and entered into formal cooperation agreements with the government, have not yet been sentenced. Singh’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for November while Ellison and Wang’s dates are not yet on the calendar.

In March, Bankman-Fried was sentenced to 25 years in prison for seven counts of fraud and conspiracy.

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