Santa-Fried should soon be bringing crypto winter cheer to the U.S. His sleigh will be a federal jet flying from the Bahamas to New York. The only workshop door he’ll be ducking his large mop of hair through is a New York court where there’s a question of whether he’ll be granted bail. His gift, addressed from Sam Bankman-Fried to Sam Bankman-Fried, will be a protracted court battle over allegations he screwed crypto users and investors out of their money by treating his crypto exchange FTX as his own personal piggy bank.
CNBC wrote late on Tuesday that maligned FTX founder Bankman-Fried would be returning to the U.S. Wednesday where he faces several federal charges of fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations. The Bahamas’ acting commissioner of corrections Doan Cleare told CNBC that Bankman-Fried, who often goes by his initials SBF, will come to the U.S. on a federal aircraft that should be landing somewhere in New York.
This comes after a full day of chaos Monday when over the weekend reports indicated SBF would no longer contest his extradition. His lawyer in the Bahamas, Jerone Roberts, was unaware of this last minute decision, and it came out in court that he was as confused as everyone else. He reportedly told the magistrate judge “whatever trail got him here this morning, it did not involve me.” After a day of wrangling and shuttling the alleged fraudster from jail to court, back to jail, and back to court, the FTX founder finally announced he was not going to fight extradition.
Bahamas police arrested the crypto founder earlier this month at his luxury apartment in the face of U.S. charges. He was held at the prison facility most commonly known as “Fox Hill” which has become notorious for poor and inhumane conditions. He was reportedly held in the facility’s medical wing while the extradition battle played out.
It’s currently unclear when Bankman-Fried’s arraignment is and where it will be held. Gizmodo reached out the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for comment but we did not immediately hear back.
Fox News first reported Tuesday based on two anonymous sources that SBF would be released on bail after his attorney and the U.S. Attorney’s Office struck a deal to have the crypto founder consent to extradition. The New York Times expanded on these details in a report Wednesday, with three unnamed sources telling reporters SBF would be granted bail but he would be placed under home detention. Electronic monitoring or other restrictive measures weren’t out of the question either. Though in the end it all comes down to a federal judge’s approval.
Despite how quickly federal prosecutors brought charges against the 30-year-old crypto founder, a full court battle could take years to begin. In the meantime, the bankruptcy proceedings for FTX are underway, and the company has called on several of those political campaigns SBF donated to, to ask for its money back. Those political donations could be key to federal charges, as U.S. Attorney Damian Williams noted that the FTX founder used money that was “disguised to come from wealthy co-conspirators” but had actually come from his exchange’s users’ funds.
As far as what we already know about how Bankman-Fried funneled users’ crypto to his hedge fund Alameda on the sly, it seems things will only get more dire for the crypto founder as those handling FTX’s bankruptcy take the company’s former execs to task.