Sam Bankman-Fried appears in Bahamas court as a US awaits extradition

Sam Bankman-Fried appeared in magistrate’s court in the Bahamas on Monday amid expectations the former billionaire would end his opposition to being extradited to the US to face fraud charges related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.The FTX founder was arrested in Nassau last week and had been resisting extradition to New York following his indictment in Manhattan on US federal fraud and money-laundering charges. Ahead of the hearing, a person familiar with the matter said they expected him to drop his fight. Proceedings over Bankman-Fried’s extradition were delayed on Monday, however, after his local lawyer said he did not know why his client had been brought to court . Magistrate Shaka Serville twice adjourned the hearing to allow Bankman-Fried to confer with his lawyers and call his American attorneys, local news reported. Bankman-Fried left the courthouse around 1pm local time without having agreed to be sent to the US, Reuters reported. Bahamas prosecutors called the events “incredible”, according to Reuters. Bankman-Fried’s local attorney said his client wants to see the US indictment against him before he agrees to be extradited, the agency reported. Bankman-Fried arrived at the Nassau courthouse just after 10am local time, pulling up in a black police van under heavy guard from the jail where he was being held. The charges brought against him last week in the Southern District of New York allege he orchestrated “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history”. He has been denied wrongdoing. A court in the Bahamas last week denied Bankman-Fried bail, saying there was a risk he would try to flee. The 30-year-old has since been held at Fox Hill Prison in Nassau. The facility has been criticized in international reports for overcrowding and lacking sanitation. Bankman-Fried also faces civil charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which allege he misled investors and funneled customer money entrusted to the FTX exchange to his private trading company Alameda Research.If convicted, Bankman-Fried could face a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison, according to legal experts.FTX, once valued at $32bn by blue-chip investors including Sequoia Capital and BlackRock, collapsed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware in November after being unable to meet a wave of client demands to withdraw their funds. The company may have more than 1mn creditors, according to bankruptcy filings. Bankman-Fried had lived in Nassau, in a $30mn penthouse at the luxury Albany complex, since FTX relocated to the Bahamas from Hong Kong late last year after the Caribbean nation set out a bespoke regulatory regime for digital assets.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *