The legal machine is on its way. Founder and former head of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried, is “leaving the Bahamas tonight” to be handed over to US authorities, the Bahamian attorney general said in a statement Wednesday, carried by several local media outlets. Last week, he was specifically charged with wire fraud, money laundering and violating election laws by the US justice system and faces decades in prison if convicted.
“SBF,” his nickname, “has waived the right to challenge his extradition to the United States,” recalled Ryan Pinder. Bahamian authorities noted the fact that this waiver allowed his extradition under the terms of a treaty binding the Bahamas and the United States. Earlier Wednesday, Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited during a hearing in Nassau.
Flight scheduled for the night
The 30-year-old entrepreneur “can’t wait to go and if it could be done today that would be perfect,” Sam Bankman-Fried’s Bahamian lawyer Jerone Roberts told Judge Shaka Serville, according to the local daily. The Nassau Guardian. At the hearing, he expressed his “desire to ensure that the customers in question get their money back,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
Sam Bankman-Fried was scheduled to fly to New York that evening, where he will appear before another judge in Manhattan federal court. Once the New York judge serves him the charges against him, the former darling of the cryptocurrency world should be placed in custody in New York, pending trial.
Until last year, defendants in pretrial detention pending trial in Manhattan federal court were housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), located on the southern tip of the island. But the site closed in 2021, officially temporarily. He had been the subject of repeated complaints about unsanitary conditions in detention.
His reputation had also been tarnished by the August 2019 suicide in an MCC cell of Jeffrey Epstein, accused of creating and maintaining a pedophile network. Sam Bankman-Fried could therefore be sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, also condemned for its lack of staff and questionable management of prisoners.
Donations to the Democratic Party
Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested on December 12 in Nassau and is already being held in the Bahamas. He is accused of using funds deposited by customers on the FTX platform to, without their knowledge, conduct risky transactions through another company he also controlled, Alameda Research.
He is also suspected of having invested part of this money in real estate in the Bahamas and dedicated another part to donations to Democratic politicians, especially Joe Biden during his presidential campaign.
Five of the eight charges against him each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The one who has long been seen as an iconoclastic genius of cryptocurrencies is therefore likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.