Former FTX executive Ryan Salame pleaded guilty to criminal campaign finance violation charges in a Manhattan court on Thursday.

During the hearing Salame appeared before Judge Kaplan, who's also set to oversee the FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried's case. He plead guilty to conspiring to make unlawful contributions and defraud the Federal Election commission. As part of his plea deal with the Department of Justice, Salame has agreed to forfeit $1.5 billion.

The news was originally reported by Bloomberg, before the former exec's court appearance.

Salame was co-CEO of FTX Digital Markets and was said to have handled political donations on behalf of the now-defunct crypto exchange's executives.


FBI agents in April raided Salame’s Washington, D.C. home. He was accused of giving $24 million to Republicans using FTX customer cash but prosecutors have not yet announced criminal charges against him. However, the New York Times has reported that he's the subject of an investigation related to campaign finance violations.

The news comes as FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried prepares for the start of his own criminal trial in October, having recently been denied a motion for his immediate release from prison.

Feds hit ex-FTX boss Bankman-Fried with 13 criminal charges following the quick and unexpected collapse of the Bahamas-based company last year.

FTX and its related entities filed for bankruptcy in November following alleged criminal mismanagement. Once one of the biggest crypto brands in the space, it allowed customers to buy, sell and bet on the future price of digital assets.


But prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried and others recklessly handled client cash by commingling it and making risky bets leading to a $7 billion hole.

Editor's note: This article and its headline were updated after publication following former FTX executive Ryan Salame's court appearance in Manhattan.

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