- Former FTX exec Ryan Salame is under investigation for suspected campaign finance violations.
- The investigation is unrelated to the exchange’s dramatic collapse.
- U.S. prosecutors are looking into whether Salame violated campaign-financing laws in favor of his girlfriend, Michelle Bond, who ran as a Republican congressional candidate for the 2022 Republican Primary in New York’s First District.
Former FTX Exec Under Investigation
U.S. prosecutors have launched an investigation into Ryan Salame, formerly an executive with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, to ascertain if he potentially violated campaign-financing laws in favor of his girlfriend, Michelle Bond, the Wall Street Journal reported July 11, citing people familiar with the matter. Bond ran as a Republican congressional candidate for the 2022 Republican Primary in New York’s First District. She announced her campaign in June 2022.
Background on Ryan Salame and Michelle Bond
Salame was one of FTX’s earliest executives before its dramatic collapse earlier this year. Prior to becoming an executive at FTX, Salame worked at Goldman Sachs from 2018-2020 before joining FTX’s business development team in 2020. He left the company last August after it was acquired by Binance Holdings Ltd., according to his LinkedIn profile. Meanwhile, Bond has been involved in the crypto industry for almost a decade and most recently served as chief compliance officer at CoinList Inc., which runs digital asset offerings and sales for blockchain companies seeking to raise funds from accredited investors through initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Suspected Campaign Finance Violations Unrelated to Exchange Collapse
The investigation into Salame is unrelated to any wrongdoing related to his role at FTX or its subsequent collapse earlier this year but instead pertains to possible violations of U.S. campaign finance law while supporting Bond’s congressional run by providing financial support beyond what legally allowed by law when she declared her candidacy last summer. According to WSJ sources familiar with the case, investigators are looking into whether Salame provided “excessive gifts“ or payments that would constitute illegal contributions made on behalf of Bond during her primary race against incumbent Rep Peter King (R-Nassau County).