©Health & Fitness Journal. FILE PHOTO: Sam Bankman-Fried, who founded and ran FTX until a liquidity crisis forced the cryptocurrency exchange to file for bankruptcy, is escorted out of the Magistrates Court building in Nassau, Bahamas, following his arrest December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Dant 2 /2
By Jared Higgs, Jack Queen and Jasper Ward
NASSAU (Health & Fitness Journal) – Sam Bankman-Fried exited a courthouse in the Bahamas on Wednesday after agreeing to extradition, paving the way for the founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange to be flown to the United States to appear on fraud charges to be charged.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan last week accused the 30-year-old cryptocurrency mogul of 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 biggest financial scams in the world,” according to the American Story.”
According to Health & Fitness Journal video, Bankman-Fried exited the courthouse surrounded by guards with assault weapons and got into a vehicle.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Bankman-Fried would leave the Caribbean nation for New York.
Williams’ office said it would hold a press conference later Wednesday.
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 appeal the extradition, but Health & Fitness Journal and other media outlets reported over the weekend that he would reverse that decision.
Bankman-Fried chose to partially agree to the extradition out of a “desire to restore the affected customers to health,” according to a Dec. 20 affidavit read in court on Wednesday.
Dressed in a suit, Bankman-Fried took the stand in court, where he spoke clearly as he was sworn in.
“Yes, I wish to waive my right to such formal extradition proceedings,” he told Judge Shaka Serville.
Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney said his client had eaten, was in good health and was “anxious to leave.”
The judge said he was satisfied that all legal requirements for extradition had been met and that Bankman-Fried was not “forced, coerced or threatened” to make the decision.
“I therefore formally place you in custody while you await extradition,” Serville said.
The hearing was adjourned after the statements.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Bankman-Fried’s attorney called for compliance with the “specialty rule.” This rule, contained in the Bahamas’ extradition treaty with the United States, states that a person can only be tried on the charges for which he was extradited.
Bankman-Fried’s US-based defense attorney Mark Cohen did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk management failures at FTX but said he doesn’t believe he is criminally responsible.
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 $32 billion exchange declared bankruptcy on November 11, and Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO the same day.
He has since been incarcerated in the Bahamas prison in Nassau, known as Fox Hill Prison. The US State Department described conditions at the facility as “harsh” in a 2021 report, citing overcrowding, rodent infestations and prisoners who rely on buckets for toilets.
Local authorities say conditions have since improved.