Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX crypto exchange, was denied bail on Tuesday (December 13) after a six-hour-long hearing conducted in the Bahamas courtroom. As a result, he faces a high likelihood and possibility of being extradited to the United States. When asked about his attempts to seek a waiver on his right to an extradition hearing, Bankman-Fried said, “I am not waiving,” according to Reuters. However, according to the report, “he (Bankman-Fried) will consent to extradition to the United States to face fraud charges.”
A Bahamian judge did not grant him bail as the US prosecutors accused the 30-year-old entrepreneur of misappropriating billions of dollars from the investors in the FTX Crypto Exchange firm that filed for bankruptcy in November 2022.
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The judge ordered that he continue to be kept at the Bahamas Department of Corrections until February 8, as his risk of flight is too “great.” The name of the correctional facility is Fox Hill Prison. Officials at the correctional centre said that Bankman-Fried will be kept in the medical department of the facility until a further decision is taken about an appropriate place to keep him.
Bankman-Fried will be produced before another Bahamian magistrate judge on February 8. He is facing charges for his role in the spectacular collapse of FTX, a company founded by him.
Commenting on his extradition chances, attorneys who are experts on the matter said that defendants are often asked to agree to being sent back to their native countries.
David Haas, a US lawyer, said, “The extradition process can take a year or longer.” He further told Reuters that usually people don’t want to sit in jail overseas. This is one of the major factors in determining whether someone challenges extradition.
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For any extradition treaty to be successful, the US and Bahamas should be parties to an agreement that will consider alleged offences committed by Bankman-Fried to be crimes in both countries. According to a report by Reuters, several attorneys think it will be difficult to “convince a Bahamian court that the securities fraud and wire fraud he stands accused of are not illegal in the Bahamas.”
Jack Sharman, one of the attorneys, said, “Bahamian law generally reflects American law in these matters.” He further stated, “I would not expect differences in the law to be a big extradition problem.” Some experts believe that there is usually a diplomatic component in all such kinds of treaties. However, Bankman-Fried had earlier said, “I didn’t ever try to commit fraud.”
The current imbroglio is the result of a bankruptcy filing following the total collapse of the firm as traders rushed to withdraw $6 billion from the agency within 72 hours. Among other charges, Bankman-Fried has been accused of secretly using about $10 billion of customer funds to help his trading business, according to media reports.
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