Sam Bankman-Fried has agreed to be extradited to the United States to face charges for fraud, his lawyers said Monday.
The about-turn came just hours after one of his lawyers told a judge in the Bahamas that the FTX founder insisted upon seeing the indictment against him before agreeing to the extradition.
By Monday afternoon, however, Jerone Roberts, Bankman-Fried’s defense attorney in The Bahamas, told media outlets, including the New York Times, that his client had agreed to the extradition.
“We as counsel will prepare the necessary documents to trigger the court,” the newspaper quoted Roberts as saying. “Mr. Bankman-Fried wishes to put the customers right, and that is what has driven his decision.”
It was not clear when the extradition could occur, though.
Monday’s court appearance comes a week after Bankman-Fried’s legal team said they would counter any plans to force him to go to the United States. An extradition hearing had been scheduled for February 8. The decision to relent, however, could facilitate a much speedier process.
Possible life sentence
Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried last Monday at the request of the US government.
Prosecutors in the United States allege he played a central role in the rapid collapse of FTX and hid its problems from the public and investors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Bankman-Fried illegally used investors’ money to fund purchases of real estate. The 30-year-old could face a life sentence.
FTX, which had been among the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, filed for bankruptcy protection on November 11 in one of the highest-profile crypto blowups after traders pulled $6 billion (€5.7 billion) from the platform in three days.
Bankman-Fried resigned as FTX’s chief executive officer the same day as the bankruptcy filing.
jsi/ar (Reuters, AP)