The Bahamas AG says Sam Bankman-Fried will be extradited to the United States tonight

The Bahamas AG says Sam Bankman-Fried will be extradited to the United States tonight
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New York

Bahamas Attorney General Sam Bankman-Fried will be extradited to the United States on Wednesday night. Ryan Pinder confirmed.

Bankman-Fried will be extradited after the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bahamas signs an extradition warrant authorizing his extradition to the United States, the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Earlier, Bankman-Fried’s lawyers were negotiating with federal prosecutors in New York about a bail deal that would allow her to avoid jail, people familiar with the matter told CNN.

Bankman-Fried, the founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange who ran his now-bankrupt empire from a luxury compound in the Bahamas, will return to the United States on Wednesday.

At a court hearing Wednesday morning, her lawyer in the Bahamas told the court that Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited to the United States, which federal prosecutors accuse her of orchestrating. “One of the biggest financial scams in American history.”

Questioned by a local judge, a disheveled-looking Bankman-Fried confirmed his decision to leave the Bahamas.

“I want to waive formal extradition proceedings,” Bankman-Fried told the court.

During the hearing, it was revealed that the 30-year-old man had a plastic bag with personal belongings in his hand. Bankman-Fried gave his occupation as “entrepreneur and executive” and told the magistrate his address was “a bit unclear at the moment”.

Her lawyer in the Bahamas, Jerone Roberts, said he hoped Bankman-Fried would be extradited immediately. U.S. Embassy officials in the courtroom told CNN that Bahamian officials are working to extradite Bankman-Fried as soon as they hand him over to U.S. custody. The Bahamian Minister of Foreign Affairs must formally agree before extradition can proceed.

Once she’s in the state, Bankman-Fried will appear before a judge in Manhattan for a bail hearing. The timing of that hearing will depend on when he arrives in New York for consideration.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, second left, is escorted from the Magistrate's Court in Nassau, Bahamas, Wednesday, Dec.  21, 2022. Bankman-Fried heads to the airport to fly to the United States to face several criminal charges after a Bahamas judge approved his extradition.

For a week and a half after her arrest in the Bahamas, Bankman-Fried was held in a prison that US officials said was overcrowded, dirty and underserved. His overcrowded cells often lack mattresses and are “infested with rats, maggots and vermin”.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Bankman-Fried are negotiating an arrangement for the failed crypto-entrepreneur’s release on terms that would allow him to avoid serving time in the Metropolitan Detention Center. The MDC is a pre-trial detention facility for ex-prisoners and human rights defenders described as inhumanciting frequent lockdowns, overcrowding and power outages that leave it without heat in the middle of winter.

Federal prosecutors last week accused Bankman-Fried of defrauding investors and clients of FTX, which it founded in 2019. If convicted of all eight counts of fraud and conspiracy, he could face up to life in prison.

FTX and its sister trading house, Alameda, both filed for bankruptcy last month after investors rushed to withdraw their deposits from the exchange, triggering a liquidity crisis.

In the weeks following the bankruptcy, FTX’s new CEO made it clear that customer funds placed on the FTX site were mixed with funds that made a number of speculative, high-risk bets in Alameda. CEO John Ray III described the situation at the two companies this way “old fashioned embezzlement” in the hands of a small group of “inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals”.

— CNN’s Matt Egan contributed to this report

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