‘Soak my Deck’ captain Sam Trabucco sails in for Ryan Salame

No one seems to know the whereabouts of Sam Trabucco, the once-CEO of Alameda Research who purchased a multi-million dollar yacht named ‘Soak My Deck’ after Alameda embezzled customer funds from FTX. Nevertheless, he’s broken cover this week to pen a lengthy character reference for his criminal colleague, Ryan Salame.

For over a year, Trabucco has been completely silent amid a global manhunt. However, he thought his assessment of Salame’s character would be so helpful to a judge prior to signing a final punishment against Salame that he decided to reappear. 

In his letter, Trabucco qualified his analysis multiple times. He admitted, “Ryan is my best friend. He has also committed crimes.” Elsewhere, Trabucco states the obvious: “Ryan deserves to face the consequences of his actions — he intimately understands that.”

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Sam Trabuccos character reference letter for a criminal

Of course, Trabucco never admits to any wrongdoing himself in his three-page letter. He, unlike almost all other executives at Alameda and FTX, hasn’t pleaded guilty to any crimes. Incredibly, neither has any law enforcement agency in the US publicly announced any criminal charge against him.

Ryan Salame: Lead of political election fraud at FTX

Salame, in addition to apparently being Trabucco’s best friend (who knew!), pled guilty to participating in three criminal conspiracies: making unlawful political contributions to US politicians, defrauding the US Federal Election Commission, and operation of an unlicensed money transmitter. He is asking for leniency and an 18-month prison sentence but will likely receive more.

Salame had millions in liquid assets, a tavern, two Massachusetts properties, and a Porsche before he agreed to surrender substantially all his assets to authorities.

Trabucco studied mathematics and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he worked with Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and imprisoned CEO of FTX. The two originally met at a 2010 math camp at Mount Holyoke College. A few weeks ago, a judge in New York sentenced Bankman-Fried to 25 years in Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn.

Before working at FTX and its sister trading arm Alameda Research, Trabucco worked at a quantitative trading firm like several other FTX executives. Unlike Bankman-Fried and Caroline Ellison, who worked at Jane Street, Trabucco worked at Susquehanna. Trabucco received at least $25 million in compensation while working for Bankman-Fried.

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