Convicted FTX exec Ryan Salame may serve shorter sentence because of substance abuse

Convicted FTX exec Ryan Salame may serve shorter sentence because of substance abuse
People & culture
Former FTX exec Ryan Salame Credit: Former FTX exec Ryan Salame
  • The former co-CEO of FTX’s Bahamas subsidiary was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison on Tuesday.
  • Ryan Salame’s actual prison time may be less than five and a half years, according to two former Department of Justice prosecutors.
  • This lesser prison sentence includes one year off for good behaviour and another for release into a substance abuse treatment programme.

Ryan Salame, a former executive at bankrupt crypto exchange FTX who pleaded guilty in September to violating campaign finance law and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, was sentenced to prison Tuesday.

While Salame’s legal team asked for a term of no more than 18 months, prosecutors requested between five and seven years. Judge Lewis Kaplan, who also presided over the trial of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, sentenced Salame to seven and a half years.

Still, Salame’s actual time in prison may be less than five and a half years, according to Michael Yaeger and Elisha Kobre, attorneys and former prosecutors for the Department of Justice.

All convicts can receive up to a 15% reduction in sentence for good behaviour, they told DL News. Kaplan also recommended that Salame be considered for RDAP, or Residential Drug Abuse Program, a substance abuse treatment initiative run by the Bureau of Prisons.

“Inmates who qualify for that drug treatment program can receive, in some situations, up to a one-year sentence reduction,” Yaeger said.

According to his lawyers’ sentencing submission, Salame struggled with substance abuse from the age of 15. “Ryan drank to excess on a daily basis,” they wrote, referring to the period during which he was employed at FTX and Alameda Research. “Ryan also habitually abused drugs.”

Salame is the first of Bankman-Fried’s four lieutenants, all of whom have pleaded guilty, to be sentenced after the ex-CEO was sentenced in late March to 25 years behind bars. Caroline Ellison, Gary Wang, and Nishad Singh still await sentencing.

Salame did not respond to a request for comment on X. His lawyers also did not immediately respond when contacted by email.

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Salame, however, hasn’t been quiet since Kaplan handed down his sentence. After the hearing, he went on X, where he hadn’t posted for a year and a half, and he’s posted every day since, even commenting on the conviction of former President Donald Trump: “[T]ough to see two great men convicted this week.”

He was referring to Trump — and himself.