FTX’s US extradition still unresolved

FTX’s extradition situation in the United States has encountered an unexpected problem.

Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), former multi-billionaire and disgraced founder of FTX, appeared Monday morning (December 19) before an emergency hearing in the Bahamas Magistrate’s Court. It was SBF’s first time back in court since his earlier request for just $250,000 bail and a particularly lenient supervised home release was denied.

The hearing, in which SBF attorney Jerome Roberts told the court he was unaware of his client’s plans, was adjourned without a decision, which means the crypto scammer is not yet extradited to the United States.

There was reportedly confusion from the start, with SBF’s lawyer asking the judge why the emergency hearing was taking place.

“Things are moving prematurely and without any involvement on my part,” Roberts said.

Roberts did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PYMNTS. His client would like to read his indictment before making a decision on extradition. SBF apparently only saw the affidavit setting out the charges against him, as reported by Reuters.

The initial SBF extradition court trial was scheduled for February 8, although it is possible a trial could be called sooner given the chaos of Monday’s hearing.

A change of heart

PYMNTS relayed over the weekend that the self-proclaimed prodigy behind the rapid implosion of crypto exchange FTX, which is accused of defrauding millions of customers out of billions of dollars, had backtracked and decided not to fight his extradition from the Bahamas to the US

These plans apparently caught SBF’s own legal team off guard, despite being widely reported.

SBF was arrested in the Bahamas the night before he testified before lawmakers at a Dec. 13 House Financial Services Committee hearing into the collapse of his business, an action that left committee chair Maxine Waters , “surprise” and “disappointed”. “, according to his public statement.

He faces eight interrelated criminal charges brought against him by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), ranging from wire fraud to various conspiracy charges.

While SBF is currently the only senior FTX executive to be criminally charged, the federal indictment said he conspired with others “known and unknown.”

He also faces additional civil lawsuits filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) that allege that FTX’s crypto empire was entirely fraudulent “from the start.”

The former CEO was locked up in the infamous Bahamian prison, Fox Hill, last week at the request of US prosecutors.

Fox Hill Prison was described by a US State Department report as overcrowded and infested with rats, with inmates given buckets for toilets. SBF is being held in the Fox Hill Medical Ward, which is considered a cozier environment than the rest of the prison with real beds and air conditioning.

SBF’s parents reportedly asked the island prison if vegan options could be made available to their son while awaiting his fate. As The Washington Post covered on Saturday (December 17), they somewhat surprisingly succeeded in their plea.

Yet a jail cell is a jail cell, and imprisonment remains a far cry from the billionaire’s former beachfront penthouse and high-flying, celebrity-studded former life.

In the blink of an eye

The collapse of SBF and its crypto empire FTX remains one of the biggest implosions not only of wealth but also of credibility in recent times.

His former company rode the crypto wave to become, at one point, the third-largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world. Midway through his rise, SBF was complacently portrayed as the next JP Morgan, and his face and scruffy black hairdo were plastered on magazine covers and TV sets.

It took just 48 hours for the stock exchange, which would have been heavily overleveraged, to collapse, evaporating the funds of millions of customers.

The subsequent fallout and media scrutiny of the post-FTX crypto landscape made regulating the volatile industry a top priority for US lawmakers, who had previously taken a hands-off approach to the industry. emerging. Complicating matters is the fact that many of the major players are incorporated overseas and out of reach.

In numerous media appearances following the collapse of his business, the former tycoon, now better known as Inmate No. 14372, has repeatedly denied committing fraud or knowingly breaking the law. Instead, he blamed poor internal management and accounting, as well as failures in risk management.

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