Sam Bankman-Fried Says He Consents to Extradition

He could be taken from Bahamas to NYC as soon as Wednesday afternoon
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2022 5:43 PM CST
Updated Dec 21, 2022 12:30 PM CST
After Chaotic Day, Lawyer Says SBF Won't Fight Extradition
A fence closes off the Magistrate Court grounds prior to the start of the day's proceedings, which including a hearing for FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, in Nassau, Bahamas, Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.   (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
UPDATE Dec 21, 2022 12:30 PM CST

Sam Bankman-Fried has agreed to be extradited from the Bahamas to face federal charges and could be in New York as soon as Wednesday afternoon. "Yes, I do wish to waive my right to such formal extradition proceedings," the FTX founder told a judge in Nassau Wednesday, per Reuters. The 30-year-old, who had earlier sought to fight extradition, faces charges including fraud in connection with the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange. The judge said he was satisfied that Bankman-Fried had not been "forced, coerced, or threatened" into making the decision. The New York Times reports that Bankman-Fried's US legal team has been negotiating a bail deal with federal prosecutors that includes home detention and electronic monitoring.

Dec 19, 2022 5:43 PM CST

Sam Bankman-Fried appears to be a step closer to returning to the US to face fraud and conspiracy charges following a chaotic day of court proceedings. Despite reports that Sam Bankman-Fried was planning to submit himself for extradition on Monday, he ended up back in a Bahamas prison after what a judge called a "wasted day." A local lawyer for the FTX founder said he was "shocked" that Bankman-Fried was even in the courtroom. "Whatever trail got him here this morning, it did not involve me," attorney Jerone Roberts said, per the New York Times.

Roberts said it was "premature" for Bankman-Fried to be in court. Bankman-Fried said he needed more information before agreeing to waive the extradition fight and demanded to see a copy of his federal indictment. CNBC reports that Bankman-Fried was "visibly shaking" during proceedings. A Bahamian prosecutor called the proceedings "incredible" and said Roberts was not to be trusted, reports ABC. A US government plane was waiting to take Bankman-Fried back to the US, where he will probably be detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn pending a bail hearing, per the Times.

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After the courtroom drama, Roberts said his client had decided to defy "the strongest possible legal advice" and agree to extradition after all. "Mr. Bankman-Fried wishes to put the customers right, and that is what has driven his decision," the attorney said. Bankman-Fried, who is being held in a medical unit at the notorious Fox Hill prison, is expected to return to court Tuesday. He is accused of defrauding investors and customers at the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange. The AP reports that some cryptocurrency enthusiasts and former FTX customers were at Monday's hearing. "We want him to feel the weight of what he’s done,” said Ben Armstrong, founder of the BitBoy Crypto website. (More Sam Bankman-Fried stories.)

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