Cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried extradited from Bahamas to US | Science and technology news
Sam Bankman-Fried has been extradited from the Bahamas to the US as he faces criminal charges over the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
This was announced by the authorities in the Bahamas FTX Founder had waived his right to contest extradition, and Bankman-Fried witnessed him exit a Nassau magistrates’ court in a dark SUV.
According to Reuters, a plane carrying the former chief executive left the Bahamas from a private airstrip at Nassau Airport.
Bankmann-Fried is scheduled to land at Westchester County Airport in New York and is likely to appear before a US judge later Thursday.
It comes after two of its employees pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to FTX’s collapse.
Carolyn Ellison, former executive director of Alameda Research – a trading firm founded by Bankman-Fried – and Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, pleaded guilty to “committing, in connection with their roles, the fraud that contributed to the collapse of FTX.” US Attorney Damian Williams said.
Bankman-Fried had previously decided to agree to a partial extradition out of “a desire to make the affected customers whole,” according to the Dec. 20 affidavit.
His attorney told the judge his client was “eager to go.”
The hearing was adjourned after the statements.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed charges last week cryptocurrency Mogul with stealing billions of dollars in FTX client assets to offset losses at his hedge fund Alameda Research in what US Attorney Damian Williams called “one of the largest financial frauds in American history”.
Bankman-Fried was arrested last week on a US extradition request in the Bahamas, where he lives and where FTX is based.
He initially said he would contest the extradition, but it was reported over the weekend that he would reverse that decision.
Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk management failures at FTX but said he doesn’t believe he is criminally responsible.
His personal wealth is said to have grown to $20 billion (£16.2 billion) at the stock market’s peak but has since reportedly shrunk to $100,000 (£83,000).
Wednesday’s hearing followed a confusing sequence of events this week that left unclear the status of Bankman-Fried’s expected extradition.
On Monday, Bankman-Fried arrived at the courthouse in a black van marked “Corrections,” wearing a blue suit jacket and white shirt, according to news reports that he had agreed to his extradition.
At the hearing, his local defense attorney, Jerone Roberts, said he was not informed of the purpose of the proceedings.
After a brief pause, Mr Roberts said his client had seen an affidavit setting out the charges against him but wanted access to the full indictment before agreeing to extradition.
The proceedings were then discontinued. They were due to resume Tuesday morning, but Bankman-Fried’s legal papers were not filed in time.
Bankman-Fried experienced a crypto boom to become a multiple billionaire and an influential political donor in the US before the FTX crash wiped out his fortune and tarnished his reputation.
The collapse was caused by a spate of customer withdrawals amid concerns over funds being mixed up with Alameda.
The crypto exchange filed for bankruptcy on November 11, Bankman-Fried resigns as CEO on the same day.