Founder and former head of cryptocurrency exchange platform Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to extradition to the US during a hearing on Wednesday in Nassau, Bahamas, several local and US media reported.
The 30-year-old entrepreneur “is looking forward to leaving and if it could be done today, it would be ideal,” Sam Bankman-Fried’s Bahamian attorney Jeron Roberts told Judge Shaka Serville, according to the local daily Nassau Guardian. “SBF”, his nickname, has agreed not to contest his extradition, a judge-approved decision that should result in the defendant’s extradition to US authorities. According to the Wall Street Journal, at the hearing, he expressed “a desire to secure refunds for interested clients.”
Read alsoFTX: deceit, conflicts of interest, abuse of authority… Will Sam Bankman-Freed end up in prison?
Sam Bankman-Fried could be extradited Wednesday and fly to New York to face another judge in Manhattan federal court. Once he is indicted by a New York City magistrate, the former cryptocurrency darling should be taken into New York custody pending trial.
Until last year, remand defendants who depended on Manhattan federal court were held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), located on the southern tip of the island. But the site closed in 2021 officially temporarily. He was repeatedly complained about unsanitary conditions of detention.
His reputation was also tarnished by the August 2019 suicide in an MCC cell of Jeffrey Epstein, accused of creating and maintaining a pedophile ring. Thus, Sam Bankman-Fried could have been sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, which was also condemned for understaffing and questionable treatment of inmates. Arrested on December 12 in Nassau, Sam Bankman-Freed is already in custody in the Bahamas.
Sam Bankman-Fried is accused of using funds deposited by clients of the FTX platform to carry out risky transactions without their knowledge through another company he also controlled, Alameda Research. He is also suspected of having invested part of this money in real estate in the Bahamas, and sent the rest to donations to Democratic politicians, in particular Joe Biden, during his presidential campaign.
Each of five of the eight charges against him carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Therefore, someone who has long been considered the rebellious genius of cryptocurrencies will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison.