The founder of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried
Sam Bankman-Fried was spotted in the courthouse of the Bahamas early on Monday. He is expected to inform the judge that he won’t contest extradition to the U.S., where he is charged with multiple civil and criminal charges concerning the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX.
The decision comes one week after Bankman Fried’s lawyers initially announced that they were planning to resist extradition. A hearing on extradition was set for Feb. 8. This change could accelerate the process of having him sent back to the U.S.
Bahamian authorities detained Bankman-Fried on Monday on instruction by officials from the U.S. government. Former FTX CEO faces federal charges in the U.S., including wire fraud, money laundering, and civil authorities. The 30-year-old could have to spend the remaining years in prison.
Bankman-Fried arrived in the courthouse with a black van named Corrections and was followed by a SWAT vehicle and an official vehicle. Police swiftly escorted him to an entryway in the back of the courthouse.
In the past, a few people who claimed to be either crypto-related or FTX customers who could not pay their bills came to observe the proceedings. One person yelled out, “Sam’s a fraud,” upon entering the courthouse.
Bankman-Fried’s demise, from crypto evangelist to a cult and back to the throne, happened at a staggering speed. FTX applied for bankruptcy protection on November. 11 after running out of cash after the crypto bank crash.
Before the bankruptcy, Bankman-Fried was seen as a hero by many people both in Washington and on Wall Street as a wunderkind of digital currency, someone who could help mainstream them through collaborating with policymakers in bringing more control and confidence to the sector.
Bankman-Fried was valued at tens of billions of dollars, at the very least on paper. He was able to attract famous people such as Tom Brady or former politicians such as Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to his events at luxurious hotel resorts in the Bahamas. One well-known Silicon Valley firm, Sequoia Capital, has invested millions of dollars into the FTX.
U.S. prosecutors and financial regulators painted a different image regarding Bankman-Fried and FTX this week. A criminal indictment was released Tuesday claiming that he was a crucial player in the rapid demise of FTX and concealed its issues from investors and the general public. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Bankman-Fried knowingly employed investors’ funds to purchase real estate for his family and himself.
The CEO who is now in charge at FTX, John Ray III, told a congressional panel the other day that there’s nothing complicated about what Bankman-Fried was doing.
“This is just old fashion embezzlement, taking money from others and using it for your purposes,” he claimed.
Read more: Why Sam Bankman-Fried did scam of $8 billion in customer funds FTX, according to a federal prosecutor
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