Disgraced cryptocurrency tycoon Sam Bankman-Fried has decided not to contest extradition from the Bahamas to the US where he is facing fraud charges.
The fallen 30-year-old FTX mogul was arrested Monday night after the Bahamian government received formal notification from the Justice Department that Bankman-Fried was charged with defrauding investors out of $1.8 billion.
He is expected to announce his decision when he appears in court on Monday, a source familiar with the case told Reuters.
The request would allow him to appear in a US court to face wire fraud, money laundering and campaign finance charges,
Once he’s back on US soil, Bankman-Fried would likely be held at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, although some federal defendants are being held at other jails just outside of New York City due to overcrowding, defense lawyer Zachary Margulis-Ohnuma told the news outlet.
Within 48 hours of his return to the United States, Bankman Fried would appear in a Manhattan court to enter a plea and a judge will make a determination regarding his bail, according to Margulis Ohnuma.
Prosecutors will likely argue that he is a risk of flight and should remain in custody given the massive amounts of money involved in the case, according to Reuters.
Any possible trial would be more than a year away, legal experts said. He faces a maximum of 115 years in prison if convicted.
A spokesman for Bankman-Fried declined to comment to Reuters.
Bankman-Fried, once estimated to be worth $32 billion, has acknowledged risk management failings at FTX but has said he does not believe he has criminal liability.
Earlier this week, he said in Bahamian court that he will not waive an extradition hearing on being sent back to the US — where he faces a slew of federal charges, including fraud and making illegal campaign contributions.
It’s unclear what led the fallen tech mogul to change his mind, however, he is being held at the Bahamas’ notorious Fox Hill Prison — known to be overrun with rats and maggots and so bad that a warden has called it “not fit for humanity.”
Bankman-Fried spent Wednesday night in the infirmary of the Nassau prison that has been condemned by human rights officials for its inadequate medical and sanitary conditions to inmates.
On Tuesday he told a Bahamian judge to let him out of the jail citing his vegan diet and apparent ADD diagnosis. His attorney proposed a $250,000 cash bail but was denied after prosecutors argued he posed a flight risk.
He made a second pitch for bail Thursday after a magistrate judge in the Caribbean country ordered Bankman-Fried remanded pending his potential extradition to the US, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Bankman-Fried is accused of using billions of dollars in stolen deposits to pay for expenses, debts and invest in his crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research LLC.
Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, described the the FTX implosion as one of the “biggest financial frauds in American history.”
He said his office’s investigation is ongoing, and has urged people with knowledge of wrongdoing at FTX or Alameda to cooperate.
Ryan Salame, a top FTX executive, told securities regulators in the Bahamas on Nov. 9 that assets belonging to the exchange’s customers were transferred to Alameda to cover the hedge fund’s losses, according to a document made public as part of FTX’s bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware.
Bankman-Fried stepped down as CEO of FTX on Nov. 11 — the day the company filed for bankruptcy.
With Post Wires