Ex-Alameda Research co-CEO calls for ‘fair’ sentencing of Ryan Salame

Former Alameda Research co-CEO Sam Trabucco, who resigned from the company before the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX and criminal charges for many of its executives, has called for leniency in sentencing former FTX Digital Markets co-CEO Ryan Salame.

In a character reference letter dated May 6, filed with a sentencing recommendation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Trabucco said Salame was his best friend and wanted the consequences of his criminal actions to be “fair” based on his role in misappropriating FTX user funds. He described his friendship with Salame based on their shared experiences in the crypto space and working with former FTX CEO Sam “SBF” Bankman-Fried.

In September 2023, Salame pleaded guilty to conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and engaging in campaign finance fraud related to contributions to his girlfriend Michelle Bond’s run for Congress. According to Trabucco, Bond and Salame now have a son together, and any time in prison could harm his relationship with his family.

“Ryan deserves to face the consequences of his actions — he intimately understands that,” said Trabucco. ”All I want is for those consequences to be fair — for him, but also for the world, which will be so much worse off not having him fully in it.”

Source: Courtlistener

Trabucco worked as a trader at Alameda starting in 2019, eventually becoming co-CEO alongside Caroline Ellison in 2021. He resigned in August 2022. Like many FTX and Alameda executives, he has largely remained silent on social media since the company’s collapse. 

Unlike Salame, FTX co-founder Gary Wang, former FTX engineering director Nishad Singh and Ellison, Trabucco has faced no criminal charges from U.S. authorities. Bankman-Fried was one of the only individuals to plead not guilty and go to trial, while the other executives accepted plea deals. It’s unclear whether anyone other than SBF will serve time in prison.

Related: Post-FTX crypto industry needs education before regulation — Former Biden adviser

On May 14, Salame’s legal team recommended that the former FTX executive serve no more than 18 months in prison. At the time of publication, the prosecution had not filed its recommendation to the court. Judge Lewis Kaplan, who also oversaw SBF’s criminal trial, will preside over the sentencing hearing on May 28.

Before Bankman-Fried stepped down and FTX filed for bankruptcy, Salame reported the exchange’s fraudulent activities to the Securities Commission of the Bahamas. Authorities later arranged for SBF’s extradition to the United States, where he was charged and convicted of seven felony counts. In March, Judge Kaplan sentenced Bankman-Fried to 25 years in prison. His lawyers have filed a notice of appeal.

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