Sam Bankman-Fried told a court in the Bahamas he will consent to extradition to the US, a move that could result in the founder of FTX arriving in New York as soon as Wednesday to face charges over the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange.
Bankman-Fried arrived at a Nassau courthouse around 11am local time on Wednesday under heavy police guard. He signed preliminary documents to clear the way for his return to his home country on Tuesday night, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The hearing concluded about 40 minutes after Bankman-Fried’s defence lawyer told the court he is “anxious to leave” the Caribbean nation, Reuters reported.
The US Department of Justice last week filed charges against Bankman-Fried and accused him of orchestrating “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history” by misappropriating customer assets from FTX to his private trading firm Alameda Research. He was arrested last week in the Bahamas, where he lives.
Bahamas magistrate Shaka Serville will contact the country’s minister of foreign affairs to sign off the extradition, local TV reported Wednesday.
US embassy officials entered the courthouse in Nassau shortly before Bankman-Fried, according to Reuters. Personnel from the FBI and US Marshals Service had also arrived on the island, the news agency reported.
Under US law, Bankman-Fried must be brought before a magistrate in Manhattan within two days of landing in New York, for an initial hearing in which the charges against him will be read out.
A decision will also be made on whether to grant the FTX founder bail until a trial begins and, if so, on what conditions. The former billionaire’s request last week to be released on bail in the Bahamas had been denied by a local judge.
Should he arrive in New York after court hours, Bankman-Fried would probably be held in custody overnight within the court complex. Were he to be denied bail, Bankman-Fried would then be transferred to a pre-trial facility, such as the notorious Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where Jeffrey Epstein’s accomplice Ghislaine Maxwell was held while on trial.
Since his arrest in the Bahamas last week, Bankman-Fried had been held at a Nassau prison known for its harsh conditions.
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