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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Can FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Fight and Win Against US Extradition?

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The Sam Bankman-Fried saga is getting worse and he is now facing a slew of charges in the US after his arrest and a request for extradition was filed in the Bahamas. His criminal charges range from fraud to money laundering while the Bahamas conducts its own investigations after the implosion of FTX, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange.

But before he is extradited, Bankman-Fried must appear before a Bahamas court for proceedings and waive his rights to be extradited.

What is extradition and what is the agreement between the Bahamas and the US?

Extradition is when one country hands over a suspect to face trial for alleged crimes.

It is a process and the circumstances were established by a treaty signed in 1990.

Whenever the US wants to put a suspect before its court, its prosecutors ask the Bahamas government.

The suspect is sent to a Bahamas court where the judge examines the request made and is convinced that the suspect is indeed wanted by the USA.

The judge does not need an admission of guilt by the suspect. In this case, the US only needs to explain to the Bahamas court that there is a case that Bankman-Fried needs to answer.

What is Sam Bankman-Fried Accused of?

Eight charges were levied against the 30-year-old crypto genius: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud on customers, wire fraud on customers, conspiracy to commit wire fraud on lenders, wire fraud on lenders, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States and violation of campaign finance laws.

Before the charges were filed, Bankman-Fried denied he defrauded investors in media interviews and chalked up losses to accounting errors.

But today, a South District New York Court stated that he defrauded investors in “good old fashion embezzlement,” and described it as “a house of cards” that crumbled. Customers lost $8 billion said Gretchen Lowe of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Can Sam Bankman-Fried refuse to be extradited?

Bankman-Fried plans to put up a fight to avoid extradition by not waiving his rights.

If Bankman-Fried had waived his rights or agreed to the extradition, the Bahamas would have been able to immediately extradite him.

His rejection on Tuesday may delay the extradition but his attempts, most likely, won’t be successful.

It’s unknown now how quickly the extradition would happen.

His next extradition hearing is scheduled for February 8, 2023.

Photo credit: Cheyenne Ligon/CoinDesk

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