Categories
Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

FTX“s Bankman-Fried wants more information before agreeing to U.S. extradition

Listen to this article
2022-12-19T19:36:09Z

A prison van delivered Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, to a court in the Bahamas on Monday, where he was expected to agree to be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges.

Sam Bankman-Fried wants to see the U.S. indictment against him before agreeing to be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges over the collapse of his crypto exchange FTX, his lawyer told a magistrate judge in the Bahamas on Monday.

Bankman-Fried has seen an affidavit laying out the charges against him, but has not yet read the indictment filed last week in Manhattan federal court that accuses him of stealing billions of dollars in FTX customer deposits to plug losses at his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research, said the lawyer, Jerone Roberts.

Roberts’ statement came at a two-hour hearing in Nassau before Magistrate Shaka Serville. When the hearing concluded, Bankman-Fried was given the chance to speak on the phone with his U.S. defense lawyer with Roberts present. No further court date was set.

Serville said he could not take any action on Bankman-Fried’s extradition without Bankman-Fried’s consent.

“I can only be moved by Mr. Bankman-Fried, and he has not moved me,” Serville said.

Bankman-Fried, dressed in a dark blue jacket and an untucked white shirt, spoke only to greet the judge and confirm he would speak with his U.S. counsel. At one point during the hearing, he leaned back with his eyes closed and appeared to be awakened by a court official.

After the hearing, Bankman-Fried was remanded back to the custody of the Bahamas’ Department of Corrections. He departed the courthouse in a black van marked “Corrections,” carrying a manila folder containing papers, a Reuters witness said.

Mark Cohen, a U.S. lawyer who represents Bankman-Fried, did not respond to requests for comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan and a spokesperson for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.

Bankman-Fried has acknowledged risk-management failures at FTX but said he does not believe he has criminal liability.

Bankman-Fried was arrested on Dec. 12 in the Bahamas – where he lives and where FTX is based – after federal prosecutors in New York accused him of misleading lenders and investors, conspiring to launder money and violating U.S. campaign finance laws.

Bankman-Fried initially had said he would fight extradition, but a source told Reuters on Saturday that the former billionaire would return to court to reverse his decision.

Roberts told Serville initially that he did not know why Bankman-Fried was brought to court on Monday morning. Following a recess, the lawyer said Bankman-Fried wanted to see the indictment before consenting to extradition.

Franklyn Williams – the Bahamas’ deputy director of legal affairs, who is representing the United States in its push to extradite Bankman-Fried – called the day’s proceedings “incredible” and appeared frustrated by the delay.

The 30-year-old crypto mogul rode a boom in the value of bitcoin and other digital assets to become a billionaire several times over and an influential political donor in the United States, until FTX collapsed in early November after a wave of withdrawals. The exchange declared bankruptcy on Nov. 11.

FTX’s current CEO, John Ray, told congressional lawmakers last week that FTX lost $8 billion of client money, saying the company showed “absolute concentration of control in the hands of a small group of grossly inexperienced, nonsophisticated individuals.”

The exchange’s collapse led to a plunge in the value of cryptocurrency and has spurred calls for greater regulation of exchanges such as FTX, which allow individuals to buy and sell digital currency.

Both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) alleged Bankman-Fried committed fraud in lawsuits filed last week.

The SEC said Bankman-Fried concealed that FTX was diverting customer funds to Alameda as the exchange raised more than $1.8 billion from equity investors.

Related Galleries:

The Founder and former CEO of crypto currency exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried arrives at the Magistrate Court building in Nassau, Bahamas December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Dante Carrer

Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of crypto currency exchange FTX, is escorted into the Magistrate Court building in Nassau, Bahamas December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Dante Carrer

People wait outside of the Magistrate Court building where Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of crypto currency exchange FTX, is expected to appear later today to reverse his decision to contest extradition to the United States, in Nassau, Bahamas December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

The logo of FTX is seen at the entrance of the FTX Arena in Miami, Florida, U.S., November 12, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

A view of the Magistrate Court building where Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder and former CEO of crypto currency exchange FTX, is expected to appear later today to reverse his decision to contest extradition to the United States, in Nassau, Bahamas December 19, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

Sam Bankman-Fried, who founded and led FTX until a liquidity crunch forced the cryptocurrency exchange to declare bankruptcy, is escorted out of the Magistrate Court building after his arrest, in Nassau, Bahamas December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Dante Carrer

Sam Bankman-Fried, who founded and led FTX until a liquidity crunch forced the cryptocurrency exchange to declare bankruptcy, is escorted out of the Magistrate Court building after his arrest in Nassau, Bahamas December 13, 2022. REUTERS/Dante Carrer
WP Radio
WP Radio
OFFLINE LIVE