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Sam Bankman-Fried Returns To U.S. To Face Criminal Charges In FTX Collapse

Sam Bankman-Fried, the jailed founder of collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX, returned to the U.S. Wednesday to face criminal charges, having waived his rights to challenge his extradition from the Bahamas.

Bankman-Fried said he was in good health. “Yes, I do wish to waive my right to such formal extradition proceedings,” he said to Judge Shaka Serville in court. 

“The Bahamas has determined that the provisional arrest and subsequent written consent by [Bankman-Fried] to be extradited without formal extradition proceedings satisfies the requirements of the [extradition treaty between the US and the Bahamas] and our nation’s Extradition Act,” said the Bahamian attorney general, Ryan Pinder, in a statement.

Bankman-Fried completed extradition documents on Wednesday and is set to be transported from the Bahamas to the United States, where he faces a host of criminal charges stemming from allegations that he defrauded $1.8 billion of investors.    

Sam Bankman-Fried in custody in Bahamas.

Bankman-Fried arrived at a courthouse at Magistrate Court in Nassau, Bahamas, about 11am on Wednesday wearing a suit and telling the judge that he was waiving his right to a long extradition hearing, sending him back to New York to face an eight-count indictment related to the collapse of the crypto-exchange FTX. A federal court in New York’s southern district could take steps that move the case to a more speedy conclusion, trial, and eventual sentencing.  

The failed crypto exchanges FTX and Alameda Research filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Nov. 11, and the firm’s failure caused losses of billions of dollars to users and investors worldwide. FTX’s crash was caused by a flood of customer withdrawals, fueled by concerns about the mixing of funds with Alameda.  

Federal prosecutors revealed last week that some members of the Alameda research group in the Bahamas had turned state witnesses. 

Carolyn Ellison, the 28-year-old former CEO of Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, the 29-year-old who co-founded FTX, pleaded guilty to charges including wire fraud, securities fraud and commodities fraud.

“They are both cooperating with the Southern District of New York,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Wednesday night in a video statement released on social media.

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