Here he is extradited. The founder and former boss of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange platform, Sam Bankman-Fried, arrived Wednesday evening, December 21, in New York. He must appear before a judge in the next few hours, according to several American media.
“SBF”, his nickname, “will be taken directly to the Southern District of [the State of] New York”, a jurisdiction which includes Manhattan, after his arrival, “and he will be brought before a judge as soon as possible”, announced earlier Manhattan federal prosecutor Damian Williams in a video posted to Twitter.
Earlier Wednesday, Sam Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited to the United States during a hearing in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. He expressed his “desire to ensure that affected customers get their money back,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Manhattan federal prosecutor also revealed on Wednesday that two key figures in the case had been charged. The latter have pleaded guilty and are collaborating with the government, which means that they could incriminate Sam Bankman-Fried.
They are Caroline Ellison, former boss of Alameda Research, and Gary Wang, co-founder of FTX, charged “in connection with their role in the fraud that contributed to the collapse of FTX,” Damian Williams said. , without giving further details.
Asked by Agence France-Presse about the charges, the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office did not follow up.
The main decision maker
According to the Wall Street Journal, both were charged with fraud, while only Caroline Ellison was charged with criminal association.
Alameda Research is the company that Sam Bankman-Fried used, according to the indictment, to carry out risky transactions with billions of dollars in funds deposited by clients on the FTX platform, without their having been informed. informed.
Arrested on December 12 in Nassau, Sam Bankman-Fried was already in detention in the Bahamas.
Since the bankruptcy of FTX on November 11, Sam Bankman-Fried has repeatedly argued publicly that he has not been at the helm of Alameda Research for several months, indirectly incriminating Caroline Ellison. An argument disputed by the Crown, which claims that “SBF” remained the primary decision maker within Alameda until FTX filed for bankruptcy.
During the first hearing in Manhattan, the New York magistrate in charge of the case will read him the charges against him and ask him whether or not he wishes to plead guilty. She will then decide whether or not Sam Bankman-Fried should be released on bail.
He faces life imprisonment
If he is kept in detention, pending his trial, he should be sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn, decried for its understaffing and questionable management of detainees.
In addition to risky transactions through Alameda, Sam Bankman-Fried is also suspected of having invested some of this money in real estate in the Bahamas. He is also accused of having made donations to Democratic politicians – always from funds from FTX clients – including Joe Biden during his presidential campaign.
Five of the eight counts against him each provide for a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison. The one who has long been seen as an iconoclastic genius of cryptocurrencies is therefore likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.
Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang have also been summoned to civil justice by the two main American financial market regulators, the SEC and the CFTC. They pledged to cooperate with the SEC, and acknowledged the facts attributed to them by the CFTC, which should earn them, in both cases, a more lenient judgment. The CFTC estimates the total amount of funds misappropriated from FTX client accounts to be $8 billion (€7.5 billion).