Ryan Salame, former co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, is hoping for a prison sentence of up to 18 months. At least that was evident from the document that his lawyers filed with the New York court.

According to his lawyers, Salame had no idea of ​​the shady practices that Sam Bankman-Fried and his associates were carrying out in the background.

Salame: Unwitting victim or accomplice?

Salame was one of the few leaders of the bankrupt crypto exchange who did not have to testify against Sam Bankman-Fried during his trial. Salame himself pleaded guilty in September 2023 to two crimes: illegally operating a money transfer company and campaign finance fraud.

His sentencing will take place on May 28.

Salame’s lawyers argue that he had “absolutely no knowledge” of the massive fraud committed by some top figures at FTX and Alameda Research. “Ryan didn’t rob anyone,” they write. “He did not defraud customers and, like everyone else, was fooled into believing that the companies were legitimate, solvent and hugely profitable.”

According to them, Salame was even a victim of the fraud. “As Caroline Ellison stated at Bankman-Fried’s trial, she and SBF kept him in the dark even as recently as November 6, 2022, just before FTX collapsed. They fooled him just as they fooled the rest of the world.”

Lower position and sincere regret

Two days after that deception, on November 9, Salame reported FTX’s fraudulent activities to the Bahamian securities commission. Shortly afterwards, Bankman-Fried resigned and the crypto exchange went bankrupt. SBF was later extradited to the US and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Salame’s lawyers believe an 18-month prison sentence is appropriate because he “occupied the lowest position within the conspiracies for which he was found guilty.” Unlike Bankman-Fried, who serves as a deterrent example, Salame has “sincerely taken responsibility” for his actions.

Salame is expected to be the second FTX-related person to be convicted, after Bankman-Fried. It is still unclear whether former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison, FTX co-founder Gary Wang and former technical director Nishad Singh will receive prison sentences. They all pleaded guilty and testified against SBF.

Since his confession in 2023, Salame has been free on $1 million bail. As part of his deal with the judiciary, he will pay around $12 million: $6 million to the US government, $6 million to FTX creditors and transfer two properties and a company. According to his lawyers, this leaves him financially “empty-handed.”

Source: https://newsbit.nl/voormalig-ftx-topman-hoopt-op-slechts-18-maanden-gevangenisstraf/

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