Sam Bankman-Fried will fly from the Bahamas to the United States on Wednesday night, after consenting to his extradition in a court hearing later that day.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan last week charged the 30-year-old cryptocurrency mogul with stealing billions of dollars in assets from FTX clients to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research, in what US Attorney Damian Williams called it “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history.”
Bankman-Fried left the courthouse Wednesday surrounded by guards with assault weapons and got into a vehicle.
The Bahamas attorney general’s office confirmed Bankman-Fried’s extradition in a statement late Wednesday.
The Bahamas Attorney General’s Office announced the extradition to the United States of Sam Bankman-Fried (“SBF”), former CEO of FTX. SBF will depart The Bahamas for the United States tonight. pic.twitter.com/WttWmNpIw4
arrested last week
Bankman-Fried was arrested on a US extradition request last week in the Bahamas, where he lives and where FTX is headquartered. He initially said he would challenge the extradition, but Reuters and other media reported over the weekend that he would reverse that decision.
Bankman-Fried decided to accept extradition in part out of a “desire to make relevant clients whole” and to recover as much money as possible for investors and clients, according to the affidavit, which is dated December 20.
Dressed in a suit, Bankman-Fried approached the witness box in court, where he spoke clearly and firmly as he was sworn in.
“Yes, I wish to waive my right to such formal extradition proceedings,” Shaka Serville told Judge Shaka.
Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney said his client had eaten, was in good health and was “eager to go.”
The judge said he was satisfied that all the legal requirements for extradition have been met and that Bankman-Fried was not “forced, coerced or threatened” into making the decision.
“Therefore, I formally commit him to your custody pending his extradition,” Serville said.
After the statements, the hearing was adjourned.
Officials from the FBI and the US Marshals Service, which handles the transportation of people in US custody, had arrived in Nassau, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday morning.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Bankman-Fried’s attorney requested that the “specialty rule” be followed. This rule, found in the Bahamas’ extradition treaty with the United States, says that a person can be tried only for the charges for which they were extradited.
Bankman-Fried has acknowledged failings in risk management at FTX, but has said he does not believe it bears criminal liability.
Bankman-Fried rode through a cryptocurrency boom to become a multi-time billionaire and an influential US political donor, before the FTX crash wiped out his wealth and tarnished his reputation. The collapse was fueled by a wave of customer withdrawals amid concerns about mixing funds with Alameda.
The $32 billion exchange filed for bankruptcy on November 11, and Bankman-Fried stepped down as chief executive the same day.
Since then he has been held at the Bahamas Department of Corrections in Nassau, known as Fox Hill Prison. The US State Department in a 2021 report described conditions at the facility as “harsh,” citing overcrowding, rodent infestation, and prisoners relying on buckets as toilets.
Local authorities say conditions have improved since then.
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