Extradition Papers Signed: Sam Bankman-Fried, Founder of FTX, to Return to US for Charges
Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, has signed extradition papers, agreeing to be extradited to the United States.
According to a report by ABC News, Bankman-Fried signed the papers to waive an extradition hearing from the Bahamas after the crypto boss did not appear in court on Tuesday even as his lawyers and U.S. consular officials waited for two hours.
Prior to that, in a Monday hearing, SBF declined to waive extradition, which surprised his lawyer and prompted courtroom confusion. Subsequently, the judge sent him back to jail. “Whatever trail that got him here this morning, it did not involve me,” SBF's Bahamian lawyer Jerone Roberts said at the time.
Since SBF has already signed extradition papers, he should be clear for transfer to New York. Reportedly, a US government plane is waiting to fly SBF back from the Bahamas.
As reported, SBF was arrested in the Bahamas earlier this month after US prosecutors formally filed criminal charges against him.
The Southern District of New York, which is investigating Bankman-Fried and the collapse of FTX and its sister trading firm Alameda, indicted SBF on eight criminal charges including wire fraud and conspiracy by misusing customer funds. If convicted on all eight counts, he could face up to 115 years in prison, CNN reported.
Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged SBF with "orchestrating a scheme to defraud equity investors in FTX." SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement:
"We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors that it was one of the safest buildings in crypto. The alleged fraud committed by Mr. Bankman-Fried is a clarion call to crypto platforms that they need to come into compliance with our laws."
Bankman-Fried has been held in the medical ward of The Bahamas' only prison – Fox Hill. The facility is known to be overcrowded and have unsanitary conditions, per human rights reports.
In early November, FTX announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware. Notably, FTX US was also included in the proceedings, despite claims by the former CEO that their US exchange was fine.
SBF has consistently denied fraud allegations, saying, "I didn't knowingly commit fraud, I don't think I committed fraud, I didn't want any of this to happen. I was certainly not nearly as competent as I thought I was."
However, John Ray III, the new CEO of FTX who testified with the US House Committee on Financial Services on the collapse of FTX last week, claimed that there was no way SBF or senior management wouldn't know about misusing user funds.