Former crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in Bahamian court on Monday and agree to US extradition.
Bankman-Fried was arrested in The Bahamas last week at the US government’s request, leaving his luxury penthouse for a prison cell.
The Bahamas has an extradition treaty with the US but the process isn’t clear-cut and can take weeks. 30-year-old Bankman-Fried is at the whim of Bahamian authorities as they “operate on their own timeline,” a source familiar with the matter told Blockworks.
The former FTX CEO is charged with eight criminal counts including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to avoid campaign finance regulations. Prosecutors claim he was engaged in criminal activity since 2019 and didn’t stop until Nov. 2022.
If convicted of all eight charges, Bankman-Fried could be in prison for up to 115 years, per the Department of Justice’s indictment.
Following his arrival in the US, he is expected to attend federal trial court in the Southern District of New York, the source said. The development was first reported by Reuters. Bankman-Fried initially declined to waive his right to fight his extradition upon his arrest.
Defense lawyer Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma told Reuters the defamed crypto mogul will either be confined at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn or be taken to another facility outside the city. Blockworks reached out to Margulis-Ohnuma for comment.
When Bankman-Fried appears in US court, he will be expected to enter a plea, after which a judge would reach a bail determination. He was denied bail in The Bahamas last week and was pictured leaving a court in handcuffs.
Bankman-Fried lawyers up ahead of extradition hearing
Bankman-Fried’s arrest was the first solid move by regulators to hold someone responsible for FTX’s multibillion-dollar implosion. He has hired Mark Cohen as his attorney, the same lawyer who represented Ghislaine Maxwell in her sex trafficking trial.
FTX’s surprise implosion in November coincided with allegations of the crypto exchange directing user funds to sister trading firm Alameda Research.
New CEO John J. Ray III has said FTX went on a “spending binge” between 2019 and 2022 during which $5 billion was spent on a “myriad of businesses and investments” which may have been worth only a fraction of what was paid.
During one of his several recent media appearances, Bankman-Fried didn’t explicitly rule out the possibility of a comeback attempt. He said he’d “give anything to be able to [pay users back]” and that he would try if he could — although that was before his arrest.
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