The FBI has searched the home of a former FTX executive and ally of Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX cryptocurrency exchange. The search is part of an ongoing investigation related to potential money laundering and fraud involving cryptocurrency. This development signifies an increased focus on regulatory oversight in the cryptocurrency industry by law enforcement agencies.
Former FTX Executive Ryan Salame’s Home Gets Searched by FBI
The FBI reportedly searched the home of Ryan Salame, a former executive of FTX, on Thursday. The cryptocurrency exchange collapsed recently and Salame is under investigation regarding the same. Salame is allegedly involved in $24 million worth of political donations made during last year’s midterm elections. The investigators believe that a majority of the $90 million donated by the ex-FTX employees was taken from customer funds. The authorities are thus probing the matter and Salame’s wealth that soared during the crypto market boom.
FTX’s founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is also facing multiple charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and wire fraud. The prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried recruited executives to act as proxies for his company and donate tens of millions of dollars to Republican and Democratic candidates. During his “PR tour” following the FTX collapse last year, Bankman-Fried said in an interview that he donated approximately the same amount to both parties. However, he admitted that “all my Republican donations were dark” and that he hid the donations to avoid public scrutiny.
Before the FTX collapse, the cryptocurrency exchange had a valuation of $32 billion. Salame, who formerly co-led FTX’s Bahamas operation, reportedly obtained $87 million in bonuses and loans from FTX’s sister company, trading firm Alameda Research. However, Salame also revealed that FTX used customer funds to cover their losses.
The investigation is still ongoing, and nobody knows the outcome. The cryptocurrency industry is still evolving, and such incidences can dampen its growth. The industry needs proper regulations and policies to function. The FBI’s actions show that the US government is taking steps to ensure transparency in this sector.