Sam Bankman-Fried Is Denied Bail by Bahamas Judge
Sam Bankman-Fried’s extradition was approved by Bahamas judge on Wednesday, clearing one of the final hurdles for him to be sent to the U.S. to face a litany of criminal charges.
The FTX co-founder told a judge in Nassau just before noon local time that he was waiving his right to fight extradition. He’s expected to be whisked off to a private air facility where U.S. authorities will take custody of him.
Dressed in a blue suit, white shirt and socks and brown leather shoes with laces removed, Bankman-Fried told a courtroom formally that he was prepared to be sent to the U.S. His case will now go to the Bahamas foreign minister for sign-off.
“I do wish to waive my rights to formal extradition proceedings,” he said, choosing to provide an affirmation, rather that swearing on a Bible. “I am doing well,” Bankman-Fried said earlier when asked by the judge about his condition.
On the stand, Bankman-Fried, 30, described himself as an entrepreneur and executive.
The developments cap a tumultuous week of machinations over when Bankman-Fried would be sent to New York, where federal prosecutors have accused him of crimes including fraud related to the collapse of the FTX crypto exchange. If convicted of all counts, he could face dozens of years behind bars.
Since being denied bail at an initial court hearing last week, Bankman-Fried has been held in a correctional facility on the outskirts of Nassau known as Fox Hill. The notorious prison is a far cry from the luxury penthouse in the island nation that he’d lived at after setting up the Bahamas as FTX’s headquarters.
Although he initially said that he would fight extradition, Bankman-Fried has more recently indicated in private conversations that he was preparing to return to the U.S. as soon as Monday, Bloomberg News has reported. The change in attitude was in part tied to the expectation that he’ll be able to get bail in the U.S.
A representative for Bankman-Fried declined to comment on conversations that his legal team is having with prosecutors.
Once back in the U.S., he’s likely to be arraigned within hours and his lawyers may present a case for him being granted bail. It wasn’t immediately clear at which American airport Bankman-Fried would land.