- Sam Bankman-Fried yesterday agreed to be extradited to the U.S. to face multiple charges relating to the collapse of FTX
- Bankman-Fried surprised his own lawyers by appearing in court, and then asking to see the indictment against him before consenting to extradition
- Bankman-Fried faces decades in prison, even if he agrees a plea deal as expected
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange FTX, yesterday agreed to be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges, according to two of his lawyers. The decision comes just hours after one of Bankman-Fried’s lawyers told a Bahamas judge that the crypto mogul wanted to see the US indictment against him before consenting to extradition.
Bankman-Fried Lawyers Surprised With Appearance
Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas on December 12, where he lives and where FTX is based, after being accused by Manhattan federal prosecutors of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits to plug losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research. Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk-management failures at FTX but maintains that he does not believe he has criminal liability.
During Monday’s court hearing, Jerone Roberts, Bankman-Fried’s criminal defense lawyer, initially told the magistrate, Shaka Serville, that he did not know why his client had been brought to court that morning. After a recess, Roberts informed Serville that Bankman-Fried wanted to see the indictment against him before consenting to extradition.
Roberts told the New York Times that his client had agreed to be voluntarily extradited and that he hoped Bankman-Fried would be back in court later this week. Krystal Rolle, a lawyer who has represented Bankman-Fried on other matters in the Bahamas, also confirmed the decision to Reuters.
U.S. Officials Call Hearing “Incredible”
No further court date was scheduled, with Serville stating that he could not take any action on Bankman-Fried’s extradition without the FTX co-founder’s consent, saying, “I can only be moved by Mr Bankman-Fried and he has not moved me.” Franklyn Williams, the Bahamas’ deputy director of legal affairs and representative for the United States in its efforts to extradite Bankman-Fried, expressed frustration with the delay, calling the proceedings “incredible.”