On September 7, 2023, Ryan Salame, a former high-ranking executive at the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws and operating an illegal money-transmitting business. As part of his plea agreement, he has agreed to forfeit a staggering $1.5 billion to authorities.

FTX, once a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, filed for bankruptcy in 2022. It was owned by Sam Bankman-Fried, who was arrested in December 2022 and charged with wire fraud and securities fraud.

Salame disclosed that he made millions in political contributions under the direction of Mr. Bankman-Fried, disguising them as loans from FTX’s sister company, the crypto hedge fund Alameda Research. Additionally, he managed FTX’s Bahamas subsidiary and is the fourth executive in Bankman-Fried’s inner circle to admit to criminal conduct since FTX’s collapse in November. Three others, Nishad Singh, Caroline Ellison, and Gary Wang, had previously pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

Salame played a pivotal role in a scheme that allowed FTX to access funds from U.S. customers through unauthorized bank accounts linked to Alameda Research. He was also a significant Republican donor, contributing $24 million during the 2022 midterms, and he is directly implicated in alleged campaign contribution violations.

As part of his sentencing, Salame will pay a $6 million fine and more than $5 million in restitution to FTX. Additionally, he will forfeit two properties in Lenox, Massachusetts, along with a Porsche automobile, with the total value of these assets amounting to $1.5 billion. He could potentially face a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison.