Sam Bankman-Fried will be extradited to the United States tonight, Bahamas AG announces


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CNN

Sam Bankman-Fried will be extradited to the United States Wednesday night, Bahamas Attorney General Sen. Ryan Pinder confirmed.

Bankman-Fried will be extradited after the Bahamas Secretary of State signed a surrender order authorizing his extradition to the United States, the Bahamas State Department confirmed in a statement.

Earlier, Bankman-Fried’s attorneys were negotiating with federal prosecutors in New York over a bail settlement that would allow him to avoid incarceration, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

The founder of FTX crypto exchange Bankman-Fried, who oversaw his now-bankrupt empire from a luxury complex in the Bahamas, is expected to return to the United States as early as Wednesday.

At a hearing Wednesday morning, his attorney in the Bahamas told the court that Bankman-Fried had agreed to extradition to the US, where federal prosecutors had accused him of orchestrating “one of the largest financial frauds in American history.”

When questioned by a local judge, a disheveled-looking Bankman-Fried confirmed his decision to leave the Bahamas.

“I wish to waive my right to a formal extradition hearing,” Bankman-Fried said in court.

The 30-year-old appeared to be holding a plastic bag containing personal belongings during the hearing. Bankman-Fried listed his occupation as “entrepreneur and executive officer” and told the magistrate his address was “a little unclear at the moment.”

Once in the US, Bankman-Fried will appear before a judge in Manhattan for a bail hearing. The timing of this hearing depends on when it arrives in New York and is being processed.

Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of FTX, second from left, turns 12 February 21, 2022. Bankman-Fried is en route to an airport to be flown to the United States to face a litany of criminal charges after a judge in the Bahamas approved his extradition.

In the week and a half since his arrest in the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried has been in a prison that US officials have described as overcrowded, filthy and without medical care. His overcrowded cells often lack mattresses and are “infested with rats, maggots and insects.”

Prosecutors and attorneys for Bankman-Fried are discussing an agreement for his release with terms that would allow the failed crypto entrepreneur to avoid time at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The MDC is a pre-trial detention center that former inmates and lawyers have described as inhumane, citing frequent lockdowns, overcrowding and power outages that have left it without heat in the dead of winter.

Federal prosecutors charged Bankman-Fried last week with defrauding investors and customers of FTX, which he founded in 2019. He faces life imprisonment if convicted on all eight counts of fraud and conspiracy.

FTX and its sister trading house Alameda both filed for bankruptcy last month after investors withdrew their deposits from the exchange, sparking a liquidity crisis.

In the weeks since its bankruptcy, FTX’s new CEO has publicly stated that customer funds deposited on the FTX website have been mixed with funds at Alameda, which has been making a series of speculative, high-risk bets. The CEO, John Ray III, described the situation at the two companies as “old-fashioned embezzlement” by a small group of “grossly inexperienced and undemanding individuals”.

– CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report

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