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On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched the Washington D.C. home of Ryan Salame, a former executive of the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, according to a report from The New York Times.
Salame, who formerly co-led FTX's Bahamas operation, is under investigation as part of the ongoing probe into the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.
Authorities are looking into $24 million in political donations that Salame made during last year's midterm elections, and allege that the majority of the total $90 million donated by ex-FTX employees—including to the campaign of Republican Representative George Santos—was taken from customer funds.
Decrypt contacted the attorney for Ryan Salame, Jason Linder, who declined to comment on the investigation.
Salame's wealth increased substantially during the crypto market boom, as he reportedly obtained $87 million in bonuses and loans from FTX's sister company, trading firm Alameda Research.
After the collapse of FTX in November, court documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Salame—then chairman of FTX Digital—tipped off Bahamian authorities to the cryptocurrency exchange using customer funds to cover losses by Alameda.
According to The New York Times report, prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried recruited executives—including Salame, who joined the firm in 2021—to act as proxies for his company and donate tens of millions of dollars to Republican and Democratic candidates alike.
"All my Republican donations were dark," Bankman-Fried said, citing the Citizens United U.S. Supreme Court case that protected political donations by corporations and unions, raising concerns about corporate money on politics.
"In practice, no one can fathom the idea that someone actually gave dark [money]," he said, adding he hid the donations to avoid public scrutiny.