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Sam Bankman-Fried is up for extradition to the US


Sam Bankman-Frieddisgraced cryptocurrency executive will soon be brought back to the United States to face charges allegations of fraud in federal court after telling a Bahamas judge on Wednesday that he agreed to be extradited.

Mr. Bankman-Fried could arrive in New York as early as Wednesday afternoon to face charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and a campaign finance violation. Once in New York, he will be arraigned in Federal District Court in Manhattan, although the exact time of the trial remains unclear. The charges stem from the collapse of Mr Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange, FTX, which was based in the Bahamas until bankruptcy last month.

Mr Bankman-Fried, 30, has been in custody in the Bahamas since he was arrested at his luxury apartment complex on December 12. In the Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, he confirmed that he had signed documents authorizing the extradition. His lawyer, Jeron Roberts, said Mr. Bankman-Fried was “anxious to leave” the Bahamas and hoped to travel as early as Wednesday.

In court, Mr Bankman-Fried told Magistrate Judge Shaka Servill he was “doing well”. Asked if he was in good health, Mr Bankman-Fried said: “Yes”.

Mr. Bankman-Fried was wearing a white shirt and blue suit, with a plastic bag on his lap; he arrived after a breakfast of toast and jam at Fox Hill, the notorious Bahamian prison where he has been held for the past week, according to the facility’s chief administrator, Doane Clear.

Once Mr. Bankman-Fried is extradited, Mark Cohen, a lawyer in New York, is expected to oversee his criminal defense.

Even before extradition, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal team in the United States was negotiating a possible one bail package with federal prosecutors. Under the terms that were discussed, Mr. Bankman-Fried could be released on bail under highly restrictive conditions, including house arrest and electronic monitoring.

Any bail agreement must be approved by a federal judge.

The extradition of Mr. Bankman-Fried to the United States would be the end of an unusual week of legal maneuvering in the Bahamas.

On Monday, Mr Bankman-Fried appeared in a magistrates’ court where he was expected to consent to extradition to the United States. But the hearing turned into chaos as Mr Roberts expressed doubt that his client would voluntarily proceed with the transfer.

By late Monday, however, Mr. Roberts had recanted, announcing at a hastily arranged news conference that Mr. Bankman-Fried had agreed to be extradited after all.

The back-and-forth over the extradition was a new twist in a legal drama that began in early November when a deposit leak exposed an $8 billion hole in FTX’s accounts. Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Bankman-Fried of defrauding clients, investors and lenders by diverting billions in client funds to a crypto-trading firm called Alameda Research, which was closely linked to FTX.

Since founding FTX in 2019, U.S. prosecutors and regulators say, Mr. Bankman-Fried orchestrated a large-scale fraud, using clients’ money to finance lavish purchases of real estate in the Bahamas, investments in other companies, political donations and a glamorous marketing campaign.

Mr. Bankman-Fried resigned as chief executive of FTX when the company filed for bankruptcy in November. He was indicted less than a month later by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Damien Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the investigation is ongoing and that additional charges are possible.

Mr Williams is expected to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Mr Bankman-Fried’s case.

William C. Rashbaum and Benjamin Weiss contributed reporting.


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