FTX founder Sam Bankman-Freed (2nd L) is led away in handcuffs by Royal Bahamas Police Force officers in Nassau, Bahamas on December 13, 2022.
Mario Duncanson |: AFP |: Getty Images:
FTX founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried will no longer contest extradition to the U.S., days after he was held in a Bahamian jail awaiting trial, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC.
The former crypto billionaire will appear in a Bahamian court this Monday to formally waive his extradition rights, paving the way for federal authorities to secure his return to the United States.
Extradition between the Bahamas and the United States is codified by a 1991 treaty. In practice, the process takes months, if not years, to complete, as defendants have multiple opportunities to appeal. Bankman-Fried’s legal team initially said it intended to fight extradition. The change of heart will significantly increase the timeline of the Bankman-Fried federal trial.
The 30-year-old MIT graduate was originally scheduled for his next hearing in February 2023.
A representative for Bankman-Fried declined to comment.
Bankman-Fried was indicted Monday in federal court in New York on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States and money laundering. If convicted, he could face the remainder of his sentence. FTX’s former CEO has been indicted simultaneously by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on similar allegations that he worked to defraud FTX customers out of billions of dollars since 2019, the year the exchange was founded.
At the heart of Bankman-Fried’s empire was Alameda Research, a crypto hedge fund that federal regulators allege used FTX clients’ money to make trades that lost billions of dollars.
FTX’s collapse accelerated when a CoinDesk report revealed a highly concentrated position in self-issued FTT coins that Bankman-Fried’s Alameda Research hedge fund used as collateral for billions in crypto loans. Binance, a rival exchange, announced it would sell its stake in FTT, prompting massive withdrawals. The company froze assets and filed for bankruptcy days later. Charges from the SEC and CFTC revealed that FTX commingled client funds with Bankman-Fried’s crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research, and that billions in client deposits were lost along the way.