On August 14th, US federal prosecutors filed a motion in which they disclosed that Ryan Salame, a former executive at the FTX exchange, will not testify about his involvement in the campaign donation scheme.
The alleged illegal scheme is also part of the FTX trial. The executive’s attorney said that if Salame would not testify even if subpoenaed, as part of his Fifth Amendment rights.
They are part of the American constitution and are aimed at protecting against self-incrimination.
The former co-CEO of the Bahamas subsidiary of FTX, Salame has been accused of making donations to Republican causes candidates of more than $24 million in the election cycle of 2022.
According to the allegations, the funds belonged to customers of the crypto exchange. It should be noted that Salame has not been charged with any crime.
His role has been under investigation since the collapse of the company last year in November. His residence in Washington D.C. was raided by FBI agents back in April.
The executive has decided to not testify because of the private message shared back in November 2021 with a ‘trusted family member’.
In the said message, he allegedly admitted to his role in the campaign donation scheme.
The motion revealed that Salame had mentioned in the message that Sam Bankman-Fried, the ex-CEO of FTX, had wanted to make donations to both Republican and Democrat candidates in the US.
However, Salame had objections because it would alienate both Republicans and Democrats and also explained the reason behind the said donations.
They were primarily aimed at weeding out anti-crypto democrats and republicans for pro-crypto democrats and republicans.
He had also mentioned that he would be asked to route money on behalf of Bankman-Fried for eliminating the Republican side.
According to the motion, these statements implicate Salame and would be regarded as evidence of alleged money laundering and fraud schemes.
A total of thirteen charges have been filed against Sam Bankman-Fried over the collapse of the exchange, related to fraud and conspiracy.
But, it should be noted that the charges no longer include violation of campaign finance laws separately, which they had previously.
Prosecutors had decided to drop campaign finance charges on June 27th, which claimed that the disgraced crypto mogul had directed his associates to make donations to political campaigns.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicated last week that the charges of running money laundering and fraud schemes also included that of illegal finance campaigns.
The ex-CEO has his trial scheduled to begin in New York on October 2nd, but he was jailed on August 11th, as his bail was revoked by a federal judge due to witness tampering.
There is another trial that is also scheduled to start in March next year, which will include additional charges brought against SBF across several superseding indictments.