Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency executive, will return to the United States to face fraud charges in federal court after agreeing to extradite himself to a federal judge in the Bahamas on Wednesday.
Mr. Banman-Fried is expected to arrive in New York as early as Wednesday afternoon to face charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations. Once in New York, the case will be filed in federal district court in Manhattan, although the exact timing of the proceedings is unclear. The charges stem from the collapse of Mr Banman-Fried’s Bahamas-based crypto exchange FTX, which went bankrupt last month.
Mr Banman-Fried, 30, has been detained in the Bahamas since his arrest on December 12 at his luxury apartment complex. At the Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, he confirmed that he had signed documents authorizing his extradition. His lawyer, Jeroen Roberts, said Mr. Banman-Fried was “eager to get out” of the Bahamas and hoped to travel by Wednesday.
In court, Mr Banman-Fried told Magistrate Shaka Serville he was “doing well”. When asked if Mr. Bankman-Fried was in good health, he replied, “Yes.”
Mr. Banman-Fried is wearing a white shirt and blue suit, a plastic bag on his arm; He arrived after breakfast and jam at Fox Hill, the notorious Bahamas prison where he was held last week, according to the facility’s superintendent, Doan Cleary.
What you need to know about FTX failure
What is FTX? FTX is now a bankrupt company and was one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. enable customers to trade digital currencies for other digital currencies or traditional currencies; It also had a native cryptocurrency known as FTT. The Bahamas-based company built its business on risky trading options that are illegal in the United States.
Once Mr. Banman-Fried is extradited, New York lawyer Mark Cohen is expected to handle the criminal defense.
Even before his extradition, Mr Bankman-Fried’s legal team in the US was negotiating a bail package with federal prosecutors. Under the terms discussed, Mr. Banman-Fried could be released on bail under stricter conditions, including house arrest and electronic monitoring.
Any bail arrangement must be approved by a federal judge.
Mr. Banman-Fried’s extradition to the United States will mark the end of an unusual week of extrajudicial practices in the Bahamas.
On Monday, Mr Banman-Fried appeared in the Magistrates Court where he agreed to be extradited to the United States. But the hearing turned chaotic as Mr Roberts expressed doubts that his client would voluntarily proceed with the transfer.
But late Monday, Mr. Roberts announced at a hastily arranged news conference that he had agreed to Mr. Banman-Fried’s extradition.
After the failure of FTX
The sudden collapse of crypto exchanges has shocked the industry.
It was the latest twist in the back-and-forth legal drama that began in early November when a run on deposits exposed an $8 billion hole in FTX’s accounts. Federal prosecutors have accused Mr. Banman-Fried of defrauding customers, investors and lenders by diverting billions of customer funds to Alameda Research, a crypto-trading firm closely tied to FTX.
FTX in 2010 Since his founding in 2019, prosecutors and U.S. regulators said, Mr. Banman-Fried orchestrated extensive fraud using client funds for real estate purchases in the Bahamas, investments in other companies, political contributions and an attractive marketing campaign.
Mr. Banman-Fried stepped down as CEO of FTX when the company filed for bankruptcy in November. Less than a month later, he was indicted by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the investigation is ongoing and more charges are likely.
Mr Williams is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Mr Bankman-Fried’s case.
William K. Rashbaum And Benjamin Weiser Contribution reporting.