Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has reversed his decision to challenge his extradition from the Bahamas to the United States to face fraud charges, and will appear in Bahamian court on Monday to announce his decision, according to a report.
The cryptocurrency tycoon was indicted in federal court in Manhattan on December 13 and accused of participating in a scheme to defraud FTX customers.
His decision to consent to extradition would pave the way for him to appear in a US court to face charges of using stolen client deposits to pay expenses and debts and to make investments on behalf of his fund. crypto speculative, Alameda Research LLC.
Prosecutors investigating Bankman-Fried’s alleged cryptocurrency fraud are also looking into who else knew about the scheme, putting his associate and his right-wing reflection in the spotlight.
They are also asking Democrats and Republicans to provide details of donations received by Bankman-Fried, 30, a Democratic mega-donor, and his associates.
Ryan Salame, 29, was co-chief executive of FTX Digital Markets, the company’s Bahamian subsidiary, and was quickly emerging as a serious figure in Republican donor circles.
Sam Bankman-Fried, 30, is seen in the Bahamas on December 13. On Saturday, it emerged he would not challenge his extradition to the United States for fraud.
Bankman-Fried is the only FTX official to face charges so far, but prosecutors are investigating his associates and colleagues
Salame splits his time between the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried’s FTX was based, and Washington DC, where he lives with his cryptocurrency lobbyist girlfriend, Michelle Bond.
And while Bankman-Fried gave $40 million to Democratic campaigns midterm, Salame supported the opposite side, with $24 million given to Republicans.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that prosecutors with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York had emailed political operatives asking for details of the donations.
Both Republicans and Democrats have been contacted, the newspaper reported.
Some politicians, including Hakeem Jeffries, the New York congressman who is set to become the House Democratic leader, and Representative-elect Aaron Bean, a Republican from Florida, have either returned FTX-related donations or donated the money to charity after the company became embroiled in a scandal.
Other groups say they are setting aside the money for possible restitution to victims of the alleged scheme.
Ryan Salame, co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets, as seen in his Twitter profile picture
Salame and his girlfriend, cryptocurrency lobbyist and former Republican congressional candidate Michelle Bond
Salame and Bond were seen as a rising force in Republican politics, but with the collapse of FTX their future looks less certain
$46.5 million in Sam Bankman-Fried donations to political groups: Where are they now for 10 candidates
$27 million – Protect Our Future – Sam Bankman-Fried’s personal PAC who worked to elect congressional Democrats (mostly spent)
$5.2 million – 2020 Biden campaign (status unknown)
$1 Million – Beto O’Rourke (returned)
$11,600 – Senator John Hoeven, RN.D. (given)
$5,800 – Representative Hakeem Jeffries (donation)
$5,800 – Senator Mitt Romney, R-Utah, (returned to Treasury)
$5,800 – Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. (given)
$5,800 – Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine (donation)
$5,700 – Senator Corey Booker, DN.J., (donation)
$5,800 – Representative Josh Gottheimer, DN.J. (given)
Salame and his girlfriend were seen as rising stars in the Republican Party – indeed, Bond ran unsuccessfully for Congress on Long Island, in a campaign backed by Donald Trump Jr.
The couple recently purchased a $4 million home in Potomac, Maryland, and paid cash, according to The New York Times.
Salame has also invested in several restaurants in his home state of Massachusetts.
Born in Sandisfield, a town of just 1,000 in the Berkshires, he worked briefly at accounting giant EY and graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a master’s degree in finance.
He went to work for Alameda, FTX’s sister company, in Hong Kong before working for FTX in the Bahamas.
Salame was a primary point of contact between the exchange and the local government, according to the newspaper, and became a whistleblower.
Bankman-Fried amassed a fortune valued at more than $20 billion as he oversaw a cryptocurrency boom to make FTX one of the biggest exchanges in the world before it abruptly collapsed this year.
Damian Williams, Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor, described FTX’s collapse as one of the “biggest financial frauds in American history.”
Bankman-Fried acknowledged failures in risk management at FTX, but said he did not believe he had criminal liability.
It was not immediately clear what caused Bankman-Fried to change his mind and decide not to contest the extradition.
The US State Department, in a 2021 report, said conditions at its Bahamas prison, Fox Hill, were ‘harsh’, citing overcrowding, rodent infestation and prisoners relying on buckets as toilets . Authorities say conditions have since improved.
Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison if he is ultimately convicted of the eight charges he faces in the United States, although any sentence will ultimately be determined by a judge based on a series of factors.