Sam Bankman-Fried, the former billionaire crypto wunderkind now jailed in the Bahamas and facing a litany of criminal charges for alleged fraud, is readying for extradition back to the U.S. as soon as Monday, a source told Bloomberg, setting the stage for one of the most anticipated white-collar criminal sagas in American history.
Bankman-Fried plans to drop his opposition to the handover during a Monday court appearance in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, several outlets reported over the weekend.
The 30-year-old Californian’s net worth swelled to as much as $26.5 billion as his crypto exchange FTX and crypto-focused trading firm Alameda Research dominated the burgeoning industry, before his empire went up in flames last month following revelations about unsound and potentially illegal activity at the two firms.
Bahamian authorities arrested Bankman-Fried late Monday, just hours after he told Forbes it was not yet the “time and place” to think about any legal fallout.
Bankman-Fried’s New York-based lawyer Mark S. Cohen did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
Bankman-Fried faces eight criminal charges in the U.S., including conspiracy to commit money laundering and to commit wire, securities and commodities fraud, as well as conspiracy to violate U.S. campaign finance laws for using FTX customer money to fund his tens of millions of dollars in political donations (he has denied knowingly breaking the law in interviews). Bankman-Fried resigned as FTX CEO and the company filed for bankruptcy on November 11 amid the collapse of the exchange’s crypto token FTT after reports revealed much of Alameda’s holdings were in FTT—which has little inherent value outside of a vote of confidence in the exchange.
What We Don’t Know
When Bankman-Fried’s plea hearing and subsequent potential trial will take place. Any legal proceedings involving Bankman-Fried will surely attract a great deal of attention, and Bankman-Fried’s alleged schemes compare to those of Bernie Madoff, architect of the largest Ponzi scheme ever who died in prison last year while serving a 150-year prison sentence, and Elizabeth Holmes, the former billionaire founder of blood testing company Theranos who received an 11-year prison sentence last month for defrauding Theranos investors.