Alameda’s Sam Trabucco Emerges To Defend FTX’s Ryan Salame

Alameda’s Sam Trabucco resurfaces after nearly two years of radio silence.

Girl looks up at a burning missing poster of Sam Trabucco.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin
  • Alameda’s Sam Trabucco has resurfaced after nearly two years of radio silence.
  • The former Alameda chief has come out to defend an associate and former FTX executive.
  • The move has left crypto community members amused.

In November 2022, the house of cards that was Sam Bankman-Fried‘s crypto empire, comprising the crypto exchange FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda Research, came crashing down. In the following months, restructuring officers and prosecutors were left to unpack one of the most daring financial frauds in history, orchestrated by Bankman-Fried and his close circle of executives.

However, one key name has been missing from the indictments and court hearings that have followed the FTX and Alameda collapse: Sam Trabucco, who served as Alameda Research’s co-CEO until his curious departure from the firm and public life in August 2022.

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After months of users asking, “Where is Sam Trabucco?” the now-reclusive former Alameda chief has made a shock cameo to vouch for Ryan Salame, a former associate who served as FTX Digital Markets co-CEO. In September 2023, Salame pled guilty to conspiracy to make unlawful political donations and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitter business.

A Friendly Plea

With Salame set to be sentenced on May 28, friends and family have written to the judge to defend him. One letter from Alameda’s Trabucco was among them.

In the three-page letter dated May 6, 2024, the former Alameda chief described Salame in many words as hardworking, open, easy to work with, benevolent, a family man, a father, and ultimately his “best friend.”

Extolling these qualities, the now-reclusive Trabucco pleaded with the judge to look beyond the former FTX executive’s crimes and grant him a “fair” punishment.

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"Ryan is my best friend. He has also committed crimes. He's acknowledged that and is prepared to accept the consequences. I want those consequences to be fair—not too light, not too excessive, but fair. Because, like anyone, Ryan doesn't deserve to be defined by his worst actions. He's a complex person who made mistakes, not some one-dimensional villain, and I know his punishment will reflect that," Trabucco's letter read.

While Trabucco had nothing but kind words for Salame, the crypto community was not as forgiving toward Trabucco.

“A Criminal Defending Another Criminal?”

Responding to the Trabucco letter, prominent crypto X account “Autism Capital” described it as “hilarious,” adding that it was  “a criminal defending another criminal.”

Another user asked, “WEN SAM TRABUCCO JAIL?”

These views come as many within the crypto community find it hard to believe that the executive who quit months before the FTX collapse was unaware of the years-long fraud perpetrated by Bankman-Fried and other executives, which largely involved the movement of FTX customer funds to Alameda. 

At the same time, Trabucco is also believed to have received a total of $25 million from working for Alameda, including a $2.5 million payment for a yacht named “Soak My Deck,” which could have been funded with FTX customer funds.

Despite being close to the FTX fraud and potentially benefiting from it, Trabucco has not been named in any of the lawsuits related to the FTX collapse, leading some to speculate that he was a confidential DOJ informant.

“No charges, no mention, and now writing references. People credit CZ with the FTX takedown, but Trab left well before that, and clearly went straight to the Feds,” Cinneamhain Ventures Partner Adam Cochran wrote.

On the Flipside 

  • Ryan Salame’s lawyers have requested a jail term of no more than 18 months.
  • Salame’s lawyers argue that he was kept in the dark about the fraud at the center of the FTX case.

Why This Matters 

Many crypto community members believe that Sam Trabucco played a role in the FTX/Alameda collapse. However, the former Alameda chief has gone silent since resigning from the firm in August 2022. The recent letter in support of Salame represents the closest thing to a public statement from the executive following the FTX collapse.

Read this for more on the search for Sam Trabucco:
FTX Community Ponders Sam Trabucco’s Disappearance

Learn more about the DOJ’s first Ethereum MEV lawsuit:
Why First Ethereum MEV Case Is Seen as a Double Standard

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Okoya David

David Okoya is a crypto news reporter at DailyCoin based in Nigeria. He covers various topics related to the cryptocurrency industry, including exchanges, regulations, and price movements, and strives to bring fresh angles to breaking news. With experience as a freelance crypto news writer, David upholds the highest journalistic standards, telling complete stories and answering lingering questions whenever possible.