Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the fallen crypto behemoth FTX, has been arrested in the Bahamas. Bankman-Fried ran his FTX empire from a luxurious house in the Bahamas and had lately been assisting authorities with bankruptcy proceedings and fraud-related investigations into his company. The news of Bankman-Fried’s arrest was shared on Twitter by Damian Williams, a U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Williams wrote that the disgraced crypto czar was arrested at the request of the U.S. government and that the formal proceedings began in collaboration with authorities in the Bahamas “based on a sealed indictment filed by the SDNY.”
USA Damian Williams: Earlier this evening, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. Government, based on a sealed indictment filed by the SDNY. We expect to move to unseal the indictment in the morning and will have more to say at that time.
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) December 12, 2022
Prior to his arrest, Bankman-Fried had expressed willingness to testify remotely before the House Financial Services Committee regarding the whole FTX implosion, which owes hundreds of millions of dollars to investors, and there is also an angle of missing assets worth over a billion dollars. He recently said in an interview that he currently had nothing left out of his once-staggering fortune worth around $22.5 billion. As the U.S. agencies prepare their charges against Bankman-Fried, Bahamas’ regulatory agencies are conducting their own investigation into the irregularities at FTX. The local investigation was announced by the Government of The Bahamas on November 27, noting that the Securities Commission, Financial Intelligence Unit, and the Financial Crimes Unit are looking into potential violations of Bahamanian laws.
Bahamas will honor the extradition request
The statement issued by the Office of the Attorney General & Ministry of Legal Affairs (Bahamas) notes that The Royal Bahamas Police Force arrested Bankman-Fried after it was notified of criminal charges being pressed in the United States. The U.S. government is likely to move ahead with Bankman-Frieid’s extradition soon. For now, the fallen FTX chief will be held in custody in accordance with the Bahamas’ Extradition Act. More importantly, the statement makes it clear the local authorities intend to “promptly” accept the formal extradition request from the United States.
According to sources speaking with The New York Times, Bankman-Fried has been charged with money laundering, wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, security fraud, and securities fraud conspiracy. The indictment will be unsealed tomorrow, December 13. Bankman-Fried claimed a few days ago that he never tried to commit fraud, and that the whole FTX meltdown was the result of oversight. Meanwhile, according to legal experts cited by CNBC, Bankman-Fried could face life imprisonment if authorities can prove in court that he willingly committed wire or bank fraud following his potential arrest. FTX is also facing charges of market manipulation using its own FTT token, which featured heavily on the balance sheets of sister company Alameda Research.