Restaurateur and Political Giver, Tipster: The Many Rolls of FTX’s Ryan Salame

Ryan Salama is a well-known local hero who was once a boy from western Massachusetts. He was a senior executive with FTX, a now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange. He also used some of his wealth to buy a few small restaurants.

Washington, D.C., was hailed by Mr. Salameh as “a great American.”Mega Republican rookiesFund candidates and political actions committees. Establish FTX as a crypto heavyweight investing to shape emerging industry regulations.

Now, Mr. Salameh is a key player in the scandal surrounding FTX. He told regulators in Bahamas, where the exchange was based that FTX was taking billions of customer funds to support an allied cryptocurrency trading firm called Alameda Research.

On Monday, Sam Bankman Fried (founder of FTX) was the one to be there. Captured in the BahamasAccused of lying about financial dealings to customers, lenders, and investors FTX and Alameda, and using both companies as a “piggybank”. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Bankman Fred used client funds to trade, buy high-end real estate, invest with other crypto companies and make political contributions. He also made personal loans to executives.

Mr. Bankman Fried, a FTX executive, has been held in a Bahamas jail without bail. However, Damien Williams, the US Attorney for New York’s Southern District, stated that the investigation is ongoing and that the prosecutors have not completed charging individuals.

Given his central role in the operation, Mr. Salameh’s activities could be under scrutiny FTX’s political influence operationWith Mr. Bankmanfried. Alameda also provided a personal loan of $55 million to Mr. Salama, who was previously the co-CEO at FTX Digital Markets in the Bahamas.

Multiple requests for comment were not answered by Mr. Salama (pronounced Salem). Jason Linder, his attorney at Mayer Brown, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Born in Sandisfield (Massachusetts), a small town of just 1,000 residents in the Berkshires. Mr. Salama briefly worked for EY, an accounting giant. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a master’s in finance. He then got a job at Alameda, Hong Kong. He later moved to FTX, Bahamas, where he was a primary link between the exchange and the local government.

According to people familiar, although Mr. Salameh was not part of Mr. Bankman Fried’s inner circle, he was fiercely loyal. His closest advisors and Mr. Bankman Fried shared an alleged agreement to give away most money they had earned under the banner of “effective Altruism”.

Mr Salameh, however, said that he tried cryptocurrency at times because it was a way for him to get rich. He was known for his extravagant cars and private jet travel. He also enjoyed a good time and was known to party hard.

As FTX grew, Mr. Salameh started to rise in Washington as a major Republican donor. During the midterm elections Mr. Salameh donated $24 million primarily to Republican candidates, committees, and Mr. Bankman Fried gave approximately $40 million primarily to Democrats. They formed the bipartisan tag team with fundraisers from both sides to achieve the flood of donations many predicted would last decades.

These contributions were made by FTX executives as part of an effort to win over supporters from both political parties in order to influence US regulations regarding the cryptocurrency industry.

Campaign donation records reveal “a coordinated effort between the SBF and Ryan Salameh, where they make sure all their corners are folded,” said Craig Holman, an administrator with the public watchdog group Public Citizen that focuses on ethics, lobbying and campaign finance. . “It’s much larger than you usually see when someone tries to launder money for candidates and office holders.”

Mr. Salama split his time between Washington and the Bahamas, where he lived with Michelle Bond, his girlfriend. The couple quickly became a crypto power couple, with Ms. Bond ran a lobby group called Digital Asset Markets Association. Powered by FTX. (Mr. Salameh once said to a colleague that he and Mrs. According to a source familiar with the exchange, Bond was brought together partly due to a shared love for Mr. Bankman Fried.

Ms Bond, who didn’t respond to requests for comments, has a photograph of herself with Mr Salama at its top Her Twitter profile. He have Same thing on it. According to property records, the couple paid almost $4 million cash for a five bedroom home in Potomac, Maryland this summer.

Mr. Salama donated $11,600 for Ms. Bond’s campaign in unsuccessfully running for Congress this year as a Republican in Suffolk County. New York with support from Donald Trump Jr. Her campaign was also supported with $1.3 million in spending from a supercommittee of political action called Crypto Innovation. This supercommittee received most of its money through another PAC that Mr. Salameh created and funded along with FTX.

Mr. Salameh has donated freely to Republican candidates and the political actions committees that support them. His largest donation — totaling $15 million — has gone to a PAC he started this year called American Dream Federal Action, which has backed candidates supporting cryptocurrency and pandemic preparedness, a cause beloved of Mr. Bankman-Fried.

A fundraiser for Mr. Salameh had once told him that he didn’t care about politics and suggested that he would encourage others to donate to FTX.

Because of the influx, Mr. Salameh was seen to be a rising star in Washington’s political circles. Invitation to a cocktail party in Washington last week — one week before FTX filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. praised Mr. Salameh as an “Emerging Republican Donor.”

Prosecutors are currently investigating FTX-related contributions. The indictment against Mr. Bankman-Fried accuses FTX founder Fred of conspiring with others to violate campaign finance laws that ban corporate donations to political candidates’ campaigns and prohibit donations “in other people’s names” — known as “straw” donations. Authorities say that Mr. Bankman Fried may have used straw donors to enable FTX make political contributions beyond the federal election law’s limits. Except for Mr. Bankman Fried, Mr. Salama and other FTX executives were not named in the indictment.

Mr. Salameh, as one of the executives responsible for FTX Digital, the Bahamian branch, has been in regular contact with the country’s securities regulators. According to a court filing, regulators in the Bahamas began investigating potential problems at FTX on November 9, two days after FTX filed for bankruptcy. According to the filing, Mr. Salameh, an executive director of the Bahamas Securities Commission and other FTX employees, told Christina Rule, Christina Rule’s secretary, that funds from FTX Digital had been transferred by Alameda to cover Alameda’s financial losses.

Back in Berkshire Mr. Salama was a household name after he started his restaurant-buying spree at Lenox, Massachusetts. This charming New England town is a popular destination for tourists to the rural Highlands.

It was the Berkshire Eagle, District, one year ago local newspaperHe pointed out that Mr. Salama was a dishwasher at a restaurant in Great Barrington, Massachusetts when he was a teenager. According to Mr. Salama’s newspaper account, he bought Firefly Gastropub as his first restaurant in 2020. The owner wanted to sell the restaurant following the pandemic.

A few months later Mr. Salama approached John McNinch, the owner and operator of the Olde Heritage Tavern, to offer to buy the restaurant. The restaurant was founded in 1950. Something from the Linux Foundation,You can choose from burgers or chicken wings, nachos or petit chicken.

McNinch claimed that he met Mr. Salama at the bar to celebrate the Firefly purchase. He was accompanied by two other restaurant owners. McNinch, who purchased the heritage in 2000, stated that he was not considering selling it when Mr. Salameh approached him.

“I didn’t know him at all, and this deal had just happened,” stated Mr. MacNinch. “I always had a number and hit it.” McNinch claimed that he closed the deal in March 2021 after obtaining more than $1.5million. He claimed that the negotiations were largely conducted via email and an intermediary.

The purchase of other items was soon followed. Mr. Salama rolled them below Linux eatsIt’s a collective, but I’ve kept it pretty much the exact same, Mr MacNinch stated. The site lists five restaurants, including one ice cream shop and another down the street.

McNinch claimed that he reached for Mr. Salameh after FTX collapsed but was not answered.

On his bio page at Lenox Eats Mr Salame mentioned that he established the R Salame Digital Asset Fund 2021 to provide scholarships for students attending two Berkshire schools.

His business activities went beyond FTX, restaurants, and other industries. He founded Texas company, Texas-based, in the summer 2021. Dogemewn LLCRyan Vandervoort is also 29 and lives in Berkshire. Dogecoin is the cryptocurrencies that seem to be the company’s name. It has been a long-standing trend in cryptocurrency value.

Property records show that the company was involved the purchase of several apartments on South Padre Island, Texas and Port Isabel, Texas.

M. Vandervoort reached out to Mr. Salameh by phone and said that he was not interested in commenting on their relationship.

“If you are interested in any information about his business, you should contact him,” Mr. Vandervoort said.

Emily FlitterContribute to the preparation and editing of reports. Kirsten NoyesContribute to the research.

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