A Bahamas official said on Tuesday that FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried has agreed to sign legal papers that make it possible for him to be sent from The Bahamas to the U.S., where he faces fraud charges related to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange.
The Bahamas’ acting corrections chief, Doan Cleare, told Reuters that the papers were signed on Tuesday around noon. A court official told Reuters that Bankman-case Fried’s would be heard on Wednesday at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).
After several days of confusion about the status of Bankman-extradition, Fried’s hearing on Wednesday could clear the way for the 30-year-old cryptocurrency mogul to leave the Caribbean nation.
A lawyer for Bankman-Fried who works in the U.S. did not answer when asked for comment. Someone who knows about the situation said that Bankman-Fried plans to agree to the extradition. Bankman-Fried has said that FTX had problems with risk management, but he does not think he is guilty of a crime.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan did not want to say anything.
Bankman-Fried was arrested last week in The Bahamas, where he lives and FTX was based. He was charged by a grand jury in Manhattan federal court with stealing customer funds to cover losses at his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research.
He told a court in the Bahamas he would fight extradition at first, but Reuters and other news outlets said over the weekend that he would change his mind.
Bankman-Fried went to court on Monday for a hearing. His local defense lawyer, Jerone Roberts, said he didn’t know why the hearing was happening. Later, he said that his client had seen an affidavit that explained the charges against him but that he wanted to see the full indictment before agreeing to be extradited.
When Roberts left Nassau’s Magistrate Court earlier on Tuesday, he didn’t say anything. A Reuters witness said that people from the U.S. embassy went into the courthouse earlier, but Bankman-Fried was not seen on Tuesday.
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Fall From Grace
Bankman-arrest Fried’s was the end of a shocking fall from grace. He had become a billionaire several times over by riding a boom in the prices of bitcoin and other digital assets.
Since early November, when customers rushed to get their money out of FTX because they were worried about their assets being mixed with Alameda, he has been under more and more scrutiny.
Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in court in the Bahamas on Monday to reverse his decision to contest extradition to the United States. https://t.co/XLb7sqNZuY
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) December 18, 2022
The top federal prosecutor in New York City, Damian Williams, said last week that what Bankman-Fried did was “one of the biggest financial scams in American history.”
The $32 billion exchange went bankrupt on November 11, and Bankman-Fried quit as CEO the same day.
Since then, he has been kept in The Bahamas Department of Corrections in Nassau, which used to be called Fox Hill prison. In a report from 2021, the U.S. State Department called the conditions at the facility “harsh,” citing overcrowding, a rodent problem, and the fact that prisoners used buckets as toilets.
The local government says that things have gotten better since then.
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