Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited to the United States after he visited a court in the Bahamas on Monday to see the indictment against him from American officials.
The disgraced entrepreneur’s company filed for bankruptcy last month after users learned that the venture’s assets were commingled with sister firm Alameda Research; both were controlled by Bankman-Fried, who was arrested last week in his luxury apartment in the Bahamas and charged by American officials with various types of fraud.
After a day in Bahamian court, Bankman-Fried assented to be extradited to the United States, according to a report from The New York Times.
Damien Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, indicted Bankman-Fried of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to defraud the Federal Election Commission and commit campaign finance violations, according to a press release from the Justice Department. Bankman-Fried had already seen an affidavit listing the charges, attorney Jerone Roberts told a magistrate judge in the Bahamas during a two-hour hearing, according to a report from Reuters.
Bankman-Fried was dressed in a dark blue jacket and untucked white shirt, speaking only to greet the judge and confirm he wanted to speak with his attorneys in the United States, according to the outlet, which added that he at one point leaned backward with his eyes closed and was awakened by a court official.
The former multibillionaire was returned to Fox Hill Prison, the small island nation’s only government detention center, after the hearing. According to a report from the State Department, the facility is harsh due to “overcrowding, poor nutrition, inadequate sanitation, and inadequate medical care,” while some cells were infested with “rats, maggots, and insects.”
Bankman-Fried, who has been denied bail due to the significant flight risk he poses, could spend as much as 115 years behind bars in the United States if convicted on all counts.
Current FTX CEO John Ray, an attorney who previously managed the collapse of fraudulent energy company Enron, told members of the House Financial Services Committee last week during a hearing that he is working to “mitigate, to the greatest extent possible, the harm suffered” by former customers and investors. He repeated earlier assertions that FTX was the worst failure of corporate controls he has witnessed in his entire career.
“Although our investigation is ongoing and detailed findings will have to await its conclusion, the FTX Group’s collapse appears to stem from the absolute concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are necessary for a company that is entrusted with other people’s money or assets,” he told lawmakers.
Joseph Bankman and Barbara Fried, the parents of Bankman-Fried, have reportedly been staying with their son in the Bahamas. After Ray was asked whether the well-connected Democratic couple was involved with the company’s failure, he confirmed that his team is investigating the two Stanford Law School professors “as well as any other players.”
Should he have received the opportunity to testify before members of Congress, Bankman-Fried would have rejected the claim that he had criminal intent, according to a copy of his draft testimony obtained by Forbes. He would have instead focused on grievances related to Ray’s handling of the bankruptcy and requested access to his personal financial accounts.