Sam Bankman-Fried appears in Bahamas court as US awaits extradition

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Sam Bankman-Fried appeared in magistrate’s court in the Bahamas on Monday amid expectations that the former billionaire would end his opposition to extradition to the US to face fraud charges related to the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX .

The founder of FTX was arrested in Nassau last week and resisted extradition to New York following his Manhattan charges on US federal fraud and money laundering charges. Ahead of the hearing, a person familiar with the case said they expected him to stop fighting.

However, proceedings over Bankman-Fried’s extradition were delayed on Monday after his local lawyer said he did not know why his client had been brought to court. Magistrate Shaka Serville twice adjourned the hearing to allow Bankman-Fried to confer with his attorneys and call his US attorneys, local news reported.

Bankman-Fried left the courthouse around 1 p.m. local time without agreeing to be sent to the US, Reuters reported.

Prosecutors in the Bahamas called the events “incredible,” according to Reuters. Bankman-Fried’s local attorney said his client wants to see the US charges against him before agreeing to extradition, the agency reported.

Bankman-Fried arrived at the Nassau courthouse just after 10 a.m. local time and pulled up in a black police van under heavy guard from the jail where he was being held. Charges filed against him last week in New York’s Southern District allege he orchestrated “one of the largest financial frauds in American history.”

He has denied wrongdoing.

A court in the Bahamas rejected Bankman-Fried’s bail last week, saying he would try to flee. The 30-year-old has been incarcerated at Fox Hill Prison in Nassau ever since. The facility has been criticized in international reports for overcrowding and lack of sanitation.

Bankman-Fried also faces civil charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission alleging he misled investors and funneled client funds entrusted to the FTX exchange to his private trading company Alameda Research.

If convicted, Bankman-Fried could face a maximum prison term of more than 100 years, according to legal experts.

FTX, once valued at $32 billion by blue-chip investors including Sequoia Capital and BlackRock, collapsed in Delaware in November under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after it failed to meet a wave of customer demands to withdraw their funds . According to the bankruptcy filings, the company may have more than 1 million creditors.

Bankman-Fried has lived in Nassau, in a $30 million penthouse in the luxury Albany complex, since FTX moved to the Bahamas from Hong Kong late last year after the Caribbean nation crafted a bespoke digital asset regulatory regime.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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