• Thu. Mar 30th, 2023
Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO, FTX and Christine Lee, Lead Anchor, CoinDesk at Consensus 2022 (Suzanne Cordiero/Shutterstock/CoinDesk)

U.S. authorities have filed criminal charges against Bankman-Fried, and The Bahamas intends to extradite him once they receive a request from U.S. officials.

Sam Bankman-Fried, FTX founder, was arrested by the Royal Bahamas Police Force according to a press statement.

The arrest came after the U.S. filed criminal charges against Bankman-Fried, and The Bahamas expects extradition proceedings to begin shortly.

“As a result of the notification received and the material provided therewith, it was deemed appropriate for the Attorney General to seek SBF’s arrest and hold him in custody pursuant to our nation’s Extradition Act,” the statement, attributed to Attorney General Ryan Pinder, said. “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.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York released a tweet confirming that Bankman-Fried had been indicted, though the indictment is still sealed.

The New York Times reports that the potential charges against him could include wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and related conspiracy.

The Enforcement Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Gurbir Grewal, stated that the SEC plans on bringing charges as well.

“We commend our law enforcement partners for working to secure the arrest of Mr. Sam Bankman-Fried in the Bahamas on federal criminal charges,” he said. “The Securities and Exchange Commission has separately authorized charges relating to Mr. Bankman-Fried’s violations of our securities laws, which will be filed publicly tomorrow in the Southern District of New York.”

Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said that, alongside the U.S.’s criminal charges, the country would continue pursuing its own investigation into FTX’s collapse. Bankman-Fried was scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee about the exchange’s collapse on Tuesday, but in a statement, committee Chair Maxine Waters said she received notice of his arrest from the U.S. Attorney’s office instead.

“It’s about time the process to bring Mr. Bankman-Fried to justice has begun. However, as the public knows, my staff and I have been working diligently for the past month to secure Mr. Bankman-Fried’s testimony before our Committee tomorrow morning,” the California Democrat said. “We received confirmation this afternoon from Mr. Bankman-Fried and his lawyers that he was still planning to appear before the Committee tomorrow, but then he was arrested.”

Around 6:00 p.m local time, the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s Financial Crimes Investigation Unit arrested Bankman-Fried.

“He was arrested reference to various Financial Offences against laws of the United States, which are also offences against laws of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,” the document said.

Bankman-Fried is scheduled to appear in court this Tuesday on Bahaman shores. When contacted for comment, Mark Cohen, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer, was unavailable.

FTX’s value plummeted last month after CoinDesk uncovered that Alameda Research, a business started by the same person as FTX, owned a substantial number of FTT tokens.

Approximately one month ago, FTX filed for bankruptcy. In court filings and prepared Congressional testimony, its new CEO John J. Ray III stated that he discovered an alarming number of corporate governance and documentation abnormalities upon taking office.

Among other issues, he found that FTX had mixed customer and company assets carelessly, losing billions along the process. In his prepared remarks, published earlier Monday, he said his new team had recovered about $1 billion of company assets to date.

Bankman-Fried departed from his company and went on a press tour, including interviews with The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vox and other news outlets. He spoke at a Twitter Spaces event and in a live Forbes interview earlier this week.

FTX’s value plummeted last month after CoinDesk uncovered that Alameda Research, a business started by the same person as FTX, owned a substantial number of FTT tokens.

Approximately one month ago, FTX filed for bankruptcy. In court filings and prepared Congressional testimony, its new CEO John J. Ray III stated that he discovered an alarming number of corporate governance and documentation abnormalities upon taking office.

Among other issues, he found that FTX had mixed customer and company assets carelessly, losing billions along the process. In his prepared remarks, published earlier Monday, he said his new team had recovered about $1 billion of company assets to date.

Bankman-Fried departed from his company and went on a press tour, including interviews with The New York Times, New York Magazine, Vox and other news outlets. He spoke at a Twitter Spaces event and in a live Forbes interview earlier this week.

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