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Former FTX Executive Agrees to Surrender Multimillion-Dollar Bahamas Property in Plea Deal

Ryan Salame

A landmark negotiation recently took place in the FTX Digital Markets Ltd. legal battle, with Ryan Salame, the former boss of the company, agreeing to sell his luxurious Bahamas property worth $5.9 million. He made that decision as part of a plea agreement stemming from his criminal charges.

Transfer of Ownership

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware received bankruptcy papers on May 1, 2020, indicating that the defense in a federal court was part of the plea deal and Unit No. The filing disclosed that “$10 million will be satisfied through a transfer from Mr. Salame to FTX DM of a residence he owns in the Bahamas, Unit No. 3A in the Marina Residences at Albany Building 10 Condominium.”

Strategic Choice Under the Lawsuit Process

In September 2023, Salame pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to make unlawful political contributions, defraud the Federal Election Commission, and operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business. According to the terms of the plea deal, he was to pay $5.6 million in restitution to the borrowers.

Safeguarding Debtors’ Interests

Instead of selling his assets to pay creditors, he chose to transfer ownership of his property to the Bahamas. The debtors primarily benefit from this move because it ensures a successful sale at a discounted price, enabling them to sell other properties in the Bahamas.

Real Estate Market Downturn

As reported, the real estate market in the Bahamas has been in crisis, with declines in high-end sales volumes of up to 25% in 2023. Apart from that, Properstar, an Australian real estate firm, revealed in their report that apartment prices have dropped by 28% over the last year.

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Financial Intricacies Unveiled

More details about the financial matters underlying Salame’s acquisition were revealed in the filing. He bought this house for $7.2 million in September 2021, with 10% of the down payment moved from an Alameda Research account at Silvergate Bank. Simultaneously, FTX DM transferred $8.1 million from its Fidelity Bank account in the Bahamas to Salame’s real estate attorney to settle the remaining balance in November of the same year.

Complex Repayment Process

Nevertheless, the financial world drastically changed in March 2022, when Salame concluded with Alameda a promissory note to pay back the $8.1 million. FTX’s and Alameda’s collapses in November 2022, along with the immediate bankruptcy filings, added uncertainty to the already complicated process of repayment.

Legal Ramifications

Salama’s sentencing is scheduled for May 28, 2024. Sam Bankman-Fried, his ex-colleague and FTX CEO, recently received a 25-year prison sentence, demonstrating the seriousness of the legal ramifications in this high-profile case.

Transferring ownership of the Bahamas property is undeniably a landmark step to restitution, with market fluctuations and inseparable financial issues at its core.

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