Sam Bankman-Fried Is Set for Extradition to U.S.

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced cryptocurrency executive, will soon be flown back to the United States to face fraud charges in federal court after he told a judge in the Bahamas on Wednesday that he agreed to be extradited.

Mr. Bankman-Fried could arrive in New York as soon as Wednesday afternoon to face charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering and a campaign finance violation. Once he arrives in New York, he will be arraigned in Federal District Court in Manhattan, though the exact timing of the proceeding remains unclear. The charges stemmed from the collapse of Mr. Bankman-Fried’s giant crypto exchange, FTX, which was based in the Bahamas until its bankruptcy last month.

Mr. Bankman-Fried, 30, has been in custody in the Bahamas since he was arrested at a luxury apartment complex on Dec. 12. On Monday, he appeared at Magistrate Court in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, where he was expected to consent to extradition to the United States. But the hearing devolved into chaos as a local lawyer representing Mr. Bankman-Fried cast doubt on whether his client would proceed with the extradition.

By the end of Monday, the lawyer, Jerone Roberts, had reversed himself, announcing at a hastily arranged news conference that Mr. Bankman-Fried had agreed to be extradited after all. Mr. Bankman-Fried confirmed that decision in court on Wednesday after signing legal documents that consented to extradition to the United States.

He appeared in court wearing a white shirt and blue suit, after having a breakfast of toast and jam at Fox Hill, the notorious Bahamian jail where he has been held, according to the facility’s head administrator, Doan Cleare.

Mr. Roberts told the court that Mr. Bankman-Fried was “anxious to leave” and as early as Wednesday.

Once Mr. Bankman-Fried is extradited, Mark Cohen, a lawyer in New York, is expected to oversee his criminal defense.

Even before the extradition, Mr. Bankman-Fried’s legal team in the United States had been engaged in negotiations with federal prosecutors about a bail package. Under the terms that have been discussed, Mr. Bankman-Fried could be granted bail with highly restrictive conditions, including home detention and electronic monitoring.

Any bail arrangement must be approved by a federal judge.

The extradition is the latest episode in a legal drama that began in early November, when a run on deposits exposed an $8 billion hole in FTX’s accounts. Federal prosecutors have charged Mr. Bankman-Fried with defrauding customers, investors and lenders by diverting billions in customer funds to a crypto trading firm called Alameda Research, which was closely tied to FTX.

Since FTX’s founding in 2019, prosecutors and U.S. regulators say, Mr. Bankman-Fried has orchestrated a sweeping fraud, using customer money to finance lavish real estate purchases in the Bahamas, investments in other companies, political contributions and a glamorous marketing campaign.

Mr. Bankman-Fried resigned as FTX’s chief executive when the company filed for bankruptcy in November. He was indicted less than a month later by a grand jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, has said the investigation is continuing and that additional charges are possible.

William K. Rashbaum and Benjamin Weiser contributed reporting.


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