Sam Bankman-Fried could fly back to US as early as today after agreeing to extradition

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Crypto ‘crook’ Sam Bankman-Fried was formally extradited to the United States when he appeared in a Bahamas court Wednesday – after telling the presiding magistrate: ‘I’m doing well.’

The disgraced FTX founder, 30, officially described as a ‘fugitive’ at the hearing in capital Nassau’s magistrates court – was finally given clearance to leave the island chain two days after a farcical mix-up.

Officials with the FBI and the United States Marshals Service – which handles transportation of individuals in US custody – have arrived in the island’s capital Nassau, Reuters reported. 

He is expected to be flown to New York today in a US government plane reported to be on standby at an executive jet facility near the main airport.

Magistrate Shaka Serville agreed to the move after the man accused of defrauding investors out of $1.8billion in the catastrophic FTX collapse formally told him he wanted a route to the States.

Sam Bankman-Fried could fly back to US as early as today after agreeing to extradition

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is escorted from a Corrections Department van as he arrives at the Magistrate Court building for a hearing, in Nassau, Bahamas Wednesday morning 

The 30-year-old consented to extradition to the United States and is expected to fly back to New York on Wednesday

The 30-year-old consented to extradition to the United States and is expected to fly back to New York on Wednesday 

Bankman-Fried initially said he would contest extradition, but it was later reported over the weekend that he would reverse that decision

Bankman-Fried initially said he would contest extradition, but it was later reported over the weekend that he would reverse that decision

Bankman-Fried – whose personal $16billion fortune vanished in the currency exchange’s $32billion implosion – could be arraigned before Judge Ronnie Abrams in the Southern District of New York tonight if there is time.

Otherwise it is understood he will be held in overnight custody and go in front of the judge – who is a sister ABC News’s chief legal affairs correspondent Dan Abrams – on Thursday.

Contrary to previous reports, he may escape being held in grim Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where Jeffrey Epstein ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell was incarcerated for two years before being sent to serve her 20-year sentence for grooming minors for sexual abuse in Florida.

If he doesn’t have a hearing tonight, he might get sent there but he could alternatively be in a hotel under the guard of federal agents.

His New York legal team, headed by hotshot lawyer Mark Cohen, is expected to ask for bail.

It is not clear if prosecutors will oppose the move if certain conditions are met. It is understood a deal might already have been made.

Bankman-Fried arrived from notorious Fox Hill prison under heavy escort. 

He was again dressed in a by now crumpled blue suit and white shirt, with shiny brown shoes that had the laces removed.

Before the proceedings started, he sat on his own in court pigeon-toed and clutching a white cotton bag that appeared to contain his belongings.

Bankman-Fried arrived from the notorious Fox Hill prison under heavy escort

Bankman-Fried arrived from the notorious Fox Hill prison under heavy escort

He was seen arriving in a corrections vehicle at the Magistrate's Court

He was seen arriving in a corrections vehicle at the Magistrate’s Court 

SBF faces eight charges which include allegedly conning investors out of $1.8billion

SBF faces eight charges which include allegedly conning investors out of $1.8billion

At times he closed his eyes and mumbled to himself as it rehearsing what he needed to say when called to speak.

When court started, Magistrate Serville asked SBF if he was all right and was told: ‘Good morning. I’m doing well.’

After his attorney Jerone Roberts had entered an affidavit prepared for SBF’s voluntary extradition request, the accused financier was called to the stand.

He told the magistrate: ‘Yes,  I do wish to waive my right to formal extradition.’

Before that, he gave his name and when asked by Serville where he lived replied: ‘I guess my address is here right now. I had been residing at Albany and Cable Beach in Nassau.’

He was asked if it was his signature on the affidavit and he pointed to it and replied: ‘It is right there.’

His Stanford law professor parents Joseph Bankman, 67, and Barbara Fried, 71 – who supported him in court after he was arrested – are in the United States awaiting their son.

The former financial guru had initially refused to waive his right to extradition when he first appeared at Magistrates Court on December 13, after being dramatically arrested at his $40million penthouse the evening before.

That world came crashing down with his arrest on December 12 and being hauled off in handcuffs to sprawling Fox Hill the next day

Bankman-Fried’s attorney said his client had seen an affidavit outlining the charges against him, but wanted access to the full US indictment against him before consenting to extradition

The Magistrate's Court where FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried appeared for an extradition hearing on Wednesday

The Magistrate’s Court where FTX co-founder Sam Bankman-Fried appeared for an extradition hearing on Wednesday

He also asked at that hearing for $250,00 bail and house arrest, saying he should not be held in custody because he was a vegan who suffers depression.

After being refused bail and spending several days in notorious Her Majesty’s Prison Fox Hill in the capital, he changed his mind about extradition and opted to head for the US.

Despite spending his time being assessed in the maximum security sickbay, the prospect of then joining the general population of Fox Hell – as it is known locally – cannot have been welcoming.

Prisoners in the overcrowded and rat-infested accommodation there are lucky to have a toilet.

Up to five are forced to share one bucket when they need the bathroom, local sources have told DailyMail.com.

SBF faces eight charges which include allegedly conning investors out of $1.8billion by diverting cash to his private crypto hedge fund Alameda Research, run by ex-girlfriend Caroline Ellison, 28.

They include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each carry a maximum prison term of 20 years, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where they were filed.

Bankman-Fried was finally extradited after confusion Monday when he arrived in court – and prosecutors, his local defense lawyer and even Magistrate Shaka all questioned what was going on.

The hearing was convened after reports SBS had switched and wanted extradition. But his local attorney Jerone Roberts told the court: ‘I am not sure what Mr. Bankman-Fried is doing here this morning.’

After heated legal argument, it was decided a constantly fidgeting SBF should speak with his New York attorneys and clarify the situation.

Fox Hill prison where Bankman-Fried is being detained. A prison official said the cells are 'roughly 8ft by 10ft. Some have bathroom facilities, but many do not'

Fox Hill prison where Bankman-Fried is being detained. A prison official said the cells are ‘roughly 8ft by 10ft. Some have bathroom facilities, but many do not’

Prisoners dressed in rough looking uniforms of wide blue and gray stripes, could be seen in various work parties in the low security area beside the main entrance

Prisoners dressed in rough looking uniforms of wide blue and gray stripes, could be seen in various work parties in the low security area beside the main entrance

A 2020 study by the Inter-American Development Bank found that 65 percent of inmates at Fox Hill said that drugs were easier to get inside the prison than outside

A 2020 study by the Inter-American Development Bank found that 65 percent of inmates at Fox Hill said that drugs were easier to get inside the prison than outside

It was after that cell phone conversation that Roberts announced following his client’s remand back to jail that the fallen crypto king had agreed to extradition.

The saga of Bankman-Fried’s downfall began when FTX filed for bankruptcy protection on November 11 after it buckled under the pressure of traders rushing to withdraw $6billion in 72 hours.

He immediately hunkered down at his magnificent penthouse, which occupies the entire top floor of an ocean-front apartment block in the ultra-exclusive development of The Albany on the island of New Providence.

With 7,500 square feet, five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and a pool directly in front of the master suite, it is the jewel in one of the highly-secure community’s landmark buildings, The Orchid.

At the time he was reportedly trying to secure a long-shot multi-billion-dollar bailout of the crypto currency exchange he co-founded just three years ago.

The MIT graduate shared the property with a ‘polycule’ of his nerdy college pals-turned FTX employees, including on-off lover Caroline Ellison – allegedly enjoying polyamorous sexual relations and marathon video game sessions.

That world came crashing down with his arrest on December 12 and being hauled off in handcuffs to sprawling Fox Hill the next day. 

The jail has been condemned in various reports. It was designed to hold 1,200 inmates but regularly incarcerates around 2,400 prisoners.

A US State Department study found that it was infested with rats and maggots. And inmates were only allowed out of their cells for 30 minutes a week due to staff shortages.

One section of the study reads: ‘Many cells also lacked running water, and in those cells, inmates removed human waste by bucket.’

Bankman-Fried, pictured leaving court in the Bahamas last Tuesday after being denied bail, 'survived' his first night at Nassau's notorious Fox Hill detention facility, sources told DailyMail.com

Bankman-Fried, pictured leaving court in the Bahamas last Tuesday after being denied bail, ‘survived’ his first night at Nassau’s notorious Fox Hill detention facility, sources told DailyMail.com

He was led away in handcuffs to sprawling Fox Hill prison after his dramatic arrest last week

He was led away in handcuffs to sprawling Fox Hill prison after his dramatic arrest last week 

It continued: ‘Sanitation was a general problem, with cells infested with rats, maggots and insects. Ventilation was also a general problem. Prisoners in maximum security had access to sanitary facilities only one hour a day and used slop buckets as toilets.’

Another section said: ‘Prison inmates complained about the lack of beds and bedding. As a result, inmates developed bedsores from lying on the bare ground.’

A 2021 Amnesty International study found prisoners did not have access to bathrooms and were forced to slop out. Suicides are common as mental health care for inmates is ‘virtually non-existent’, added the report.

Caroline Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research, is apparently working with the federal government against her ex-boyfriend Sam Bankman-Fried

Caroline Ellison, the CEO of Alameda Research, is apparently working with the federal government against her ex-boyfriend Sam Bankman-Fried

The report said: ‘There have been repeated, unconfirmed, serious allegations of sexual abuse and rape which do not appear to have been adequately investigated by the authorities.’

Despite Bankman-Fried’s almost nerdy persona, he faces a damning set of accusations.

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said when he unveiled the charges: ‘It’s fair to say… this is one of the biggest financial frauds in American history’.

And a separate complaint filed against him, The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges SBF ‘orchestrated a years-long fraud’ by diverting money to his Alameda Research ‘privately held crypto hedge fund’ and concealing that from investors.

‘We allege that Sam Bankman-Fried built a house of cards on a foundation of deception while telling investors that it was one of the safest buildings in crypto,’ said SEC Chair Gary Gensler.

‘The alleged fraud committed by Mr. Bankman-Fried is a clarion call to crypto platforms that they need to come into compliance with our law.’

Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement said FTX ‘operated under a veneer of legitimacy’ and added ‘as we alleged in out complaint, that veneer wasn’t just thin, it was fraudulent.’

Bankman-Fried hunkered down at his Bahamas penthouse following FTX's bankruptcy protection filing on November 11, after it buckled under the pressure of traders rushing to withdraw $6billion in 72 hours

Bankman-Fried hunkered down at his Bahamas penthouse following FTX’s bankruptcy protection filing on November 11, after it buckled under the pressure of traders rushing to withdraw $6billion in 72 hours

With 7,500 square feet, five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and a pool directly in front of the master suite, SBF's penthouse is the jewel in one of the highly-secure community's landmark buildings, The Orchid

With 7,500 square feet, five bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and a pool directly in front of the master suite, SBF’s penthouse is the jewel in one of the highly-secure community’s landmark buildings, The Orchid 

Meanwhile, prosecutors are also looking into who else knew of what was allegedly happening – pushing his business associates into the spotlight.

They are also asking Democrats and Republicans to provide details of the donations received by Bankman-Fried, a Democrat mega-donor, and his inner circle.

Ryan Salame, 29, was co-chief executive of FTX Digital Markets, the company’s subsidiary in the Bahamas, and was fast emerging as a serious figure in Republican donor circles.

In another development, Bankman-Fried’s ex Ellison may be working with prosecutors to protect herself after hiring a legal team to protect her, a former US Attorney has claimed.

Marc Litt said: ‘She was the CEO of a company that seems to be intimately involved in the alleged fraud, and she’s… in the cross-hairs of the government… and she’s got a choice to make.’

Ellison will face scrutiny over the transfer of client funds to Alameda.

She has remained silent and has hired Stephanie Avakian, former director of the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement to represent her.

‘There’s a little bit of a race to the prosecution at this point because the government needs cooperators,’ Litt said.

‘It’s in her interest to spin her narrative and tell her story before everybody else that the government talks to, points the finger at her, so she has every incentive to cooperate and get the benefits of cooperation.’

SBF, who was not in handcuffs, was also rocking slightly at times as he sat waiting for proceedings to start. He occasionally flicked his eyes around nervously at who else was in the court.

He was dealt with under article 17 of the Bahamas 1990 Extradition Act with the United States, which says a fugitive may be extradited without formal extradition proceedings.

Attorney Roberts spend several minutes stressing that this was on condition that the United States only prosecuted SBF on the charges in the extradition paperwork. These were the eight accusations he faces in New York.

Magistrate Serville said: ‘I have every reason to believe the requesting state will carry out their obligations.’

SBF opted for affirmation when he was in the box and giving evidence on oath. At one point he smiled and also nodded when asked if the paperwork he was handed was the affidavit, which was dated December 22.

He answered ‘yes I did’ twice when asked by the magistrate if he instructed it to be drawn up. He also confirmed he was not under any pressure to be extradited.

When asked to describe his occupation he said: ‘Entrepreneur and executive.’

At 11.40am SBF, who was returned to sit on his own on a bench in front of the legal teams, turned around to look at the court clock.

One of the three FBI agents in the court, with representatives from the US embassy, was also spotted looking at his watch.

Just before Magistrate Serville wound up proceedings he said he confirmed the extradition and SBF – by now standing again – replied: ‘Thank you.’

Serville also asked if he had eaten and the ‘fugitive’ replied: ‘Yes.’

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