FTX founder Sam Bankman Fried agrees to extradition to US.
Bahamian attorney Jeroen Roberts, who represents Bankman-Fried, confirmed Monday afternoon that his client had “agreed to be voluntarily extradited to the United States.”
In a short interview with a local journalist obtained by CNN, Roberts said the SBF’s next court appearance is to complete the extradition process, which is expected to happen this week — possibly Tuesday.
Bankman-Fried, a 30-year-old former crypto celebrity, was arrested a week ago at his luxury home in the Bahamas. Federal prosecutors in New York charged him with eight counts of wire fraud and conspiracy, alleging he defrauded customers and investors at FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded in 2019.
In a series of media interviews since FTX filed for bankruptcy last month, Bankman-Fried has admitted to management mistakes while denying that she knowingly defrauded clients or investors.
Roberts told reporters Monday afternoon that there was a possibility that SBF would be extradited the same day as his next court appearance, and said the possibility that SBF would fly from the Bahamas to the United States that day was very strong.
“Bankman-Fried wants to put clients right, and that’s what drove his decision to voluntarily extradite himself to the United States,” Roberts wanted to emphasize.
Earlier on Monday, Transfer proceedings As her Bahamian lawyer and local attorneys argued vigorously in court, Bankman-Fried appeared to be stalling.
Prosecutors pointed out that Bankman-Fried had an agreement with U.S. prosecutors to allow him to be extradited to the United States to face federal charges. But Bankman-Fried’s Bahamian lawyer, Roberts, said he was not involved in the deal.
Roberts said prosecutors won’t share the U.S. indictment with him, and he won’t have to “fish around the Internet” for it. In response, attorney Franklin Williams dismissed Roberts’ accusations as “not credible.”
Bankman-Fried – who was wearing the same navy-blue suit she wore when she was arrested last week – was expected to drop her extradition fight, clearing a significant hurdle to extraditing her to US soil. fraud and conspiracy.
But Monday’s hearing left viewers in the dark.
The courtroom was packed during the hearing, mostly with US consular officials and members of the “crypto community” who want to see Bankman-Fried continue to be held in the Bahamas for sentencing rather than being extradited to the US.
At the end of the hearing, the frustrated magistrate overseeing the case cleared the courtroom so that Bankman-Fried could call her American lawyers along with her Bahamian lawyer.
Bankman-Fried later returned to a Bahamian prison, where he has been held for the past week. No future court date was set in Monday’s hearing.
His US legal team did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Earlier in the day, a representative of his lawyers declined to give details about the timeline, saying it was “difficult to provide specifics while relying on the Bahamian courts.”
Bankman-Fried initially planned to fight efforts to extradite him to the United States. But after a week at NASA’s notorious Fox Hill prison, he was no longer interested in continuing what could have been a years-long battle to avoid deportation.
The US State Department said conditions at Fox Hill, the Bahamian prison where Bankman-Fried has been held since her arrest last Monday, are dire. The report criticized the prison for overcrowding, poor nutrition and inadequate sanitation and medical care. The overcrowded cells often lacked mattresses and were “infested with rats, worms and vermin”. 2021 report.
Bankman-Fried is expected to seek bail again while in US custody. If denied bail, he will be held at a federal detention center in Brooklyn, New York. Prisoners, lawyers and human rights advocates have complained about the conditions inside the facility, mostly for pre-trial defendants who are presumed innocent. They are also inhumaneCiting overcrowding, frequent heat loss and poor sanitary conditions.
At Monday’s hearing, tensions began to flare between Bankman-Fried’s lawyer and Bahamian government lawyers.
Bankman-Fried’s attorney, Jeron Roberts, told the court that he had not been instructed to speak with his client.
“Things are moving ahead of time and without any involvement from me,” Roberts said.
Bahamian prosecutors accused Roberts of using “sharp tactics.”
The magistrate hearing the case, Shaka Serville, finally granted permission to the courtroom so that Bankman-Fried could speak to her lawyers in private.
— CNN’s Jaide Timm-Garcia contributed to this report