After former FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried signed extradition papers to face criminal charges in the United States, he will be handed over to US Marshalls.
The Bahamas judge Shaka Serville has approved all of the legal requirements for the extradition and was satisfied that Bankman-Fried was not “forced, coerced or threatened” into making the decision.
The 30-year-old will be handcuffed and placed on board a plane with an escort from the FBI and the United States Marshals Service which have already arrived in the Bahamas. They will then carry him to La Guardia or JFK Airport.
He will either go to the federal detention facility or a Manhattan courtroom in the Southern District of New York. If he is sent to court, there will be an initial hearing and arraignment before a judge and he will enter a plea to the 8 charges against him.
Following a tumultuous week since his arrest in the Bahamas, he is expected to arrive in the United States on Wednesday evening and will contest allegations that he funneled billions of dollars from his fallen exchange FTX, to his trading fund company, Alameda Research.
“Yes, I do wish to waive my right to such formal extradition proceedings,” he told the court on Wednesday morning.
His defense lawyer Jerone Roberts said his client was “anxious to leave” the Bahamas and requested that the “rule of specialty” be imposed which based on the Bahamas and US extradition treaty, states that a person can only be tried on the charges for which they are extradited.
Once crypto darling now crypto villain FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried is gearing up for a legal fight and has retained high-profile Mark Cohen as his defense attorney to battle allegations of fraud and misappropriation of funds, according to Bloomberg.
Bankman-Fried has not been arrested for any crime, but US and Bahamas investigators said they are probing the events that unfolded involving the ex-billionaire and how he handled customers’ money on the cryptocurrency platform.
Mark Cohen of Cohen and Gresser Law Firm is a former federal prosecutor, and a star-studded white-collar criminal lawyer, who represented American convicted sex offender Ghislaine Maxwell in the high-profile sex trafficking trial involving her connection to sex offender Jefferey Epstein.
Bankman-Fried’s hiring of Cohen could mean investigations are ramping up.
Bankman-Fried has been making media tours in a somewhat repentant manner and has chalked up the downfall to simple accounting mistakes he made because he was not “focused.”
In an interview with Andrew Sorkin of New York Times Deal Book Summit, Bankman-Fried said he was talking against the advice of his lawyers because he had “a duty to explain” himself.
At least one attorney, Martin Flumenbaum of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, has already walked away from Bankman-Fried, citing a conflict of interest.
Bankman-Fried has accepted an invitation to attend a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Finance Committee, to answer questions on the billions of dollars reportedly lost from the once-valued 32 billion dollar exchange, before its collapse.
Legal experts say the 30-year-old could face 20 years in prison if he is convicted.
US Senate Banking Committee says it will subpoena FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried to testify on his former company’s failings on December 14, if he does not come voluntarily.
Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), in a public letter, said the former crypto billionaire must appear in person to “answer for the failure of both entities (FTX and Alameda Research) that was caused, at least in part, by the clear misuse of client funds and wiped out billions of dollars owed to over a million creditors.”
Bankman-Fried was CEO when the third biggest crypto exchange collapsed and he filed bankruptcy, losing billions of dollars in customer funds on the platform. He has denied any misappropriation of funds and has said it was simply an accounting mistake.
“There are still significant unanswered questions about how client funds were misappropriated, how clients were blocked from withdrawing their own money, and how you orchestrated a cover-up,” Brown said in the letter.
The 30-year-old will be forced to the hearing in Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G50, at 10:00 a.m.
“If you chose not to appear, I am prepared, along with Ranking Member Pat Toomey, to issue a subpoena to compel your testimony.”
The tone of this request is somewhat different from the friendly tweet Congresswoman Maxine Waters posted on Twitter when she invited him to testify before the Finance Committee which she chairs: “We appreciate that you’ve been candid in your discussions about what happened at FTX. Your willingness to talk to the public will help the company’s customers, investors and others. To that end, we would welcome your participation in our hearing on the 13th.”
Investigations appear to be ramping up as the US and the Bahamas investigators report that they are probing Bankman-Fried’s dealings in his former company.
Featured Image: Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sam Bankman-Fried
Disgraced crypto darling Sam Bankman-Fried made his first appearance since the collapse of his billion-dollar empire, choosing to speak on FTX’s meltdown despite lawyers’ advice to keep quiet.
“It’s not who I am. I have a duty to talk and explain what happened. To do what’s right,” he said at the New York Times Dealbook Summit on Wednesday afternoon.
In a video interview from the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried, known for his incessant tweeting asked journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, “What good is it if I stay quiet?”
At times Bankman-Fried fidgeted during the interview as he pondered whether or not he could be held liable for the purported mishandling of customer funds.
“There’s a time and a place for me to think about myself and my own future. I don’t think this is it,” he said.
“Customers and stake holders matter most.”
The 30-year-old, who is no longer the CEO of the exchange since filing bankruptcy, said he believes customers can still recoup millions of dollars lost in the collapse.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but I want to be helpful to regulators wherever I can. I can’t promise anyone anything. I think there’s a chance customers will be made a lot more whole if there’s more effort.”
Bankman said he too has lost all of his investments in FTX and only has approximately $100,000 left on his bank account. “I don’t have hidden funds…I put everything in FTX.”
He rejected the notion that he committed fraud. “I did not try to commit fraud on anyone.”
FTX, once valued at 32 billion dollars was a giant in the crypto market and was headquartered in the Bahamas. Its new CEO is now John Ray III who is at odds with Bankman-Fried and revealed the corporate failings and his use of funds for personal needs like purchasing lux properties in the Bahamas.
“Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here,” Ray said in a court filing.
After the downfall of the third biggest crypto exchange, he tweeted, “I f-ked up.”
“I screwed. I was the CEO. We messed up,” he told Sorkin again.
Bankman-Fried will make an appearance on Capitol Hill later in the month, to answer questions on the billions of dollars lost in the disaster.
Following the rapid collapse of crypto giant FTX and its founder Sam Bankman Fried’s questionable handling of millions of dollars of customer funds, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Ryan Pinder sought to defend the Bahamas which is caught up in the middle of the fiasco.
“The Bahamas is a place of laws. The rule of law, and the exercise of due process, characterize the integrity of our jurisdiction.”
The Bahamas has hosted FTX’s headquarters since 2021 and when allegations surfaced that Bankman-Freid was engaged in unscrupulous financial dealings, many questioned how the country would execute its laws in regard to the exchange and its founder, who stepped down from the troubled company.
“The Securities Commission, Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Financial Crimes Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force will continue to investigate the facts and circumstances regarding FTX’s insolvency crisis, and any potential violations of Bahamian law.
“They will hold accountable any responsible companies and individuals, and act in cooperation with other regulatory agencies and law enforcement bodies, both here in the Bahamas, and in other countries affected,” Pinder said on Sunday night in a televised national address.
Bankman-Fried has since retweeted Pinder’s 23-minute remarks, which mostly recapped the fiasco.
Pinder’s speech was prerecorded which meant journalists could not ask questions.
As Pinder concluded, he said, “while new facts emerge every day, there is still much to discover.”
Pinder suggested that the Bahamas should not be entirely blamed for the fiasco as it is a complex matter.
“Any attempt to lay the entirety of this debacle at the feet of the Bahamas, because FTX is headquartered here, would be a gross oversimplification of reality,” he said.
“And it is deeply misguided to conclude that reluctance to communicate the details of an active investigation means that nothing is happening.”
It remains to be seen what actions if any, the Bahamas will take.
Since the collapse of crypto giant FTX, Bahamian employees have been out in the cold, some wondering about their next move after their dream job vanished.
Working for FTX, once valued at 32 billion dollars, meant a hefty salary, a right to company cars like BMWs and Jeeps, a daily intake of steaks and seafood for lunch, and the purchases of groceries bought by the company.
They never imagined the rapid collapse of the company that changed their lives. Now some are locked out of the company’s headquarters and said they cannot reach Vice President of Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Valdez Russel, the company’s Bahamas liaison, Forbes reported.
An anonymous employee still working for the company said, “It’s messed up because in the Bahamas this has happened a couple of times. Big foreign entities come into town and we get these big things. Then the sh-tshow comes down.”
A current employee said he was bothered by Bankman-Fried’s incessant tweets. “He’s not taking it seriously. You’re writing this cryptic bullsh-t and the only thing you have to say is ‘sorry.’”
“It’s f-ked up man.”
Bankman-Fried who stepped down as CEO on Nov. 11, recently released an apologetic letter on Tuesday, to be shared among FTX’s employees.
“I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, and I would give anything to be able to go back and do things over again. You were my family,” he said. “I’ve lost that, and our old home is an empty warehouse of monitors. When I turn around, there’s no one left to talk to.
“I froze up in the face of pressure and leaks and the Binance [letter of intent to purchase FTX], and said nothing,” he said.
The letter continued, “Maybe there is still a chance to save the company.”
“I believe that there are billions of dollars of genuine interest from new investors that could go to making customers whole. But I can’t promise you that anything will happen, because it’s not my choice.”
John Ray, who was at the center of Enron bankruptcy filings, is now the CEO of FTX and while at FTX bankruptcy filings, revealed corporate failings at the exchange headquartered in the Bahamas.
Bankman-Fried revealed in tweets that he was “reluctant” to file bankruptcy but was “pressured” to do so.
New FTX Boss John Ray harshly criticized crypto-white knight Sam Bankman-Fried and his transactions in the Bahamas, which directly opposes Prime Minister Philip Davis’ assessments of FTX’s operations in the Bahamas.
Ray wrote in a court filing in Delaware, “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.
“From compromised systems integrity and faulty regulatory oversight abroad, to the concentration of control in the hands of a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals, this situation is unprecedented.”
However, Davis in his first comment on the FTX’s fiasco said in the House of Assembly that officials have not found any anomalies.
“We have not identified any deficiencies in our regulatory framework that could have avoided this.”
Davis continued, “I have every confidence that the Bahamas will emerge from the proceedings involving FTX – proceedings taking place here as well as in other jurisdictions – with an enhanced reputation as a solid digital assets jurisdiction.”
Ray, who is an expert in financial scandals like Enron, rebuked FTX’s poor record-keeping, the inexperienced senior managers, and the use of company funds to purchase real estate in the Bahamas.
Ray said the exchange had suffered an “unprecedented and complete failure of corporate controls.”
Last week, the Securities Commission Bahamas froze Bankman-Fried’s assets after his 32-billion-dollar empire collapsed.
Since filing for bankruptcy, he appointed Ray as the new CEO.
Update: The listing has been labeled a “web malfunction” and has since been removed. Nikki Boeuf, President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association said, “It’s unfortunate because the integrity of the industry is at stake.
Now disgraced crypto-white knight Sam Bankman Fried is selling his $40 million house nestled in the western end of Nassau, Bahamas.
The 12,000-square-foot five-bedroom luxury penthouse was reportedly put on the market after Bankman-Fried filed for bankruptcy sending the crypto market spiraling out of control.
The penthouse, where Bankman-Fried and his nine other roommates lived and worked, features a private elevator, and a private balcony with a spa and lounge area.
It is considered, “the ultimate in luxury waterfront living in the Caribbean” according to its listing.
FTX, before the collapse, was the second biggest crypto exchange and was headquartered in the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO last week as he work to recoup the billions of customer funds lost in the crash.
Bankman-Fried lost an estimated 14 billion dollars overnight and his company was once valued at 32 billion dollars.
Reports say Bankman-Fried’s sale of his Bahamas penthouse is the first indication of his effort to sell off assets.
Fallen Crypto King Sam Bankman-Fried not only imploded the cryptocurrency market but dealt a heavy blow to the pocket of the governing party of the Bahamas.
The Progressive Liberal Party suffered financially since Bankman-Fried was a generous megadonor and facilitated government expenses like the Dubai Exhibition 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Royal Banquet at Bahamar and the Hurricane Dorian Benefit Concert.
Before FTX the $32 billion bitcoin exchange collapsed into bankruptcy on Friday and the prospect of millions evaporated from its platform, CEO Bankman-Fried formed a close tie to the PLP.
He was the government’s single largest donor, who extended his wealth not only to the PLP in the Bahamas but also President Joe Biden, dishing out more than $5 million to back his presidential campaign in 2020 against Donald Trump.
It is not known how much money the billionaire doled out after he moved his company’s headquarters to the Bahamas in April, but it is believed to be millions.
At press conferences when questioned by media about the cost of national events, government spokespersons often concealed his identity, only stating that other expenses were incurred by “a corporate donor” or “the private sector.”
In January when controversy arose over the exorbitant cost and size of the contingent which traveled to the Dubai Expo 2020, Director of Communications in the Office of the Prime Minister Latrae Rahming said “The UAE has spent $3.5 million, and the Bahamian private sector has contributed half a million dollars.”
In May when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the Bahamas and the media questioned the price tag of the Royal Visit, the committee responsible for planning the event tabulated the cost, and released a statement which in part read, “On this visit, the cost of travel to and from The Bahamas will be borne by the Royal household. The Governor General’s reception is being sponsored by a corporate donor.”
FTX’s Communication Director Valdez Russell is seen in social media posts, attending events, including the Dorian Concert which featured renowned gospel artist Cece Winans, which suggests that FTX funded the concert. He also attended the Bahamas Pavilion in Dubai earlier in the year, stating in a post, “Stopped in to see the Bahamas Pavilion and got even more excited about exciting possibilities as FTX becomes a platinum sponsor.” In addition, Russell makes his presence known at the Royal Gala held at Bahamar for Prince William and Princess Kate as he socializes with the royals and other attendees.
Other photos posted to Russell’s social media page show Former Cabinet Ministers in the Christie Administration, Allyson Maynard and Jerome Fitzgerald attending an FTX-USA event and rubbing shoulders with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Maynard is reported to be FTX’s lawyer and was responsible for helping Banker-Fried establish his headquarters in the Bahamas.
FTX billionaire Bankman-Fried is no stranger to tying himself to political groups, eager to woo crypto-friendly politicians. He is the second biggest donor of the Democratic Party in the USA doling out $40 million to Democrats during the 2022 midterm election, with hopes of influencing legislature and policymakers so that FTX gets special treatment in the market.
Jeff Hauser, director of the left-leaning Revolving Door Project, said “A lot of people in the Democratic Party got really close to Sam Bankman-Fried, and it reflects very badly on people who took this guy seriously,” he said. “People who in their past lives have taken on corporate power have been bedazzled by money seemingly being thrown their way.”
In October, Bankman-Fried said he could spend anywhere from $100 million to $1 billion on Democratic races through 2024, but later walked back his comments.
“We’ve never seen something like this on this scale,” said Bradley Beychok, co-founder of American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic super PAC. “On our side, there’s a small pool of people who write these kinds of checks and they tend to be the same folks. But Sam, to his credit, came right in with a big splash.”
The crypto power broker is now being scrutinized by the US Securities and Exchange Commission for his company’s handling of customer funds. What will the PLP do as US politicians now begin to distance themselves from Bankman-Fried?
Following its shocking announcement to acquire FTX which is on the verge of collapse, Binance is walking away from the deal.
Binance Founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao, the Chinese-Canadian billionaire who is the largest crypto exchange, posted to Twitter, “As a result of corporate due diligence, as well as the latest news reports regarding mishandled customer funds and alleged US agency investigations, we have decided that we will not pursue the potential acquisition of FTX.com.”
Its initial plans to rescue FTX, the second biggest exchange, surprised many in the crypto world.
Now that Binance is backing out, reports are that FTX may be filing for bankruptcy. A person privy to the situation said FTX was short $US 8 billion, as it attempts to rescue the company through the financing of debt and/or equity.
The crypto stock market is now plummeting with Bitcoin tumbling to the lowest levels in two years, as Binance walked away from FTX.com.
It was also reported that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried who was worth about $15.2 billion lost $14.6 billion of his personal money, overnight.
Bankman-Fried moved from Hong Kong to set up his headquarters in the Bahamas this year, boasting that “The Bahamas is one of the few places to set up a comprehensive framework for Crypto.”