Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested on Dec. 12 in his Bahamas apartment after charges were filed by U.S. prosecutors.
Bahamian authorities acted on an indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which charges the former CEO of FTX, the now-bankrupt crypto exchange, with wire fraud and conspiracy for his misuse of customer funds.
Bankman-Fried was taken into custody without incident, in “reference to various Financial Offenses against laws of the United States, which are also offenses against laws of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,” according to a statement from the Bahamas police force.
The U.S. is expected to request his extradition, according to a statement from Ryan Pinder, the Attorney General of the Bahamas, who added that Bankman-Fried was taken in custody pursuant to the Bahamian Extradition Act. “At such time as a formal request for extradition is made, the Bahamas intends to process it promptly, pursuant to Bahamian law and its treaty obligations with the United States,” said Pinder.
The extradition treaty between the U.S. and the Bahamas, signed in 1990, stipulates that extraditable offenses include punishable actions in both nations where the penalty is imprisonment for a year or more.
“Mr. Bankman-Fried is reviewing the charges with his legal team and considering all of his legal options,” said Mark Cohen, an attorney for Bankman-Fried, in a statement.
While Bankman-Fried was meant to testify at a congressional hearing today (Dec. 13) regarding the collapse of FTX, Congresswoman Maxine Waters confirmed he will not be attending. Instead, he is scheduled to be arraigned in Magistrate Court in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, according to Bahamian authorities, where the question of whether he will be granted bail after being extradited will likely be answered.
In parallel actions, Bankman-Fried was also charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The SEC found that FTX raised more than $1.8 billion from FTX investors, including $1.1 billion from around 90 U.S. investors, funds which Bankman-Fried secretly used for Alameda research, his privately-held crypto hedge fund.
He “commingled FTX customers’ funds at Alameda to make undisclosed venture investments, lavish real estate purchases, and large political donations,” reads a press release from the SEC, which is seeking an injunction to prohibit Bankman-Fried from participating in the offer or issuance of any securities besides his personal account.
“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,” said Gary Gensler, SEC chair, in a statement.
Statement from the Attorney General of The Bahamas Sen. Ryan Pinder KC on the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried pic.twitter.com/caXPwAXJRU
— Office of The Attorney General – Bahamas (@oagbahamas) December 13, 2022