March 30, 2023

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Sam Bankman Fried returns to the United States after dropping his extradition fight

Sam Bankman Fried returns to the United States after dropping his extradition fight

Nassau, Bahamas

delivery procedures For the founder of FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried appears to have paused as his Bahamian lawyer and local prosecutors argued bitterly in court on Monday.

Prosecutors indicated that there was an agreement with Bankman-Fried’s US attorney to allow his extradition to the United States to face federal charges. But Bankman Fried’s Bahamian attorney, Jeroen Roberts, said he himself was not part of that agreement.

Roberts claimed that prosecutors would not share the US indictment with him, nor should he “trawl the Internet” for it. In response, Attorney General Franklin Williams dismissed Roberts’ accusation, saying it was “unbelievable”.

Bankman-Fried was expected to drop his extradition battle, clearing a major hurdle to bring him back to US soil to stand trial on multiple charges related to Fraud and conspiracy.

But Monday’s session left observers in the dark about what happens next.

At the end of the hearing, the frustrated judge overseeing the case cleared the courtroom so that Bankman-Fried could contact his American attorneys with his Bahamian attorney present.

Bankman-Fried was then returned to the Bahamas prison where he was held last week. No later court date has been set for Monday’s hearing.

His US legal team did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Earlier in the day, a representative for his attorney declined to elaborate on the timeline, saying it was “difficult to give specifics while relying on the Bahamas courts.”

Bankman-Fried had initially planned to fight efforts to bring him back to the United States. But after a week in Nassau’s notorious Fox Hill prison, he appears less interested in continuing what was likely a years-long battle to avoid extradition.

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The US State Department reports that conditions at the Fox Hill, Bahamas prison where Bankman-Fried has stayed since his arrest last Monday are harsh. The report criticized the prison for overcrowding, poor nutrition, and inadequate sanitation and medical care. The overcrowded cells often lacked mattresses and were “infested with rats, worms, and vermin,” according to him. Report 2021.

Bankman-Fried is expected to again request bail once he is in US custody. If bail is denied, he will be held at a federal detention center in Brooklyn, New York. Prisoners, lawyers and human rights advocates say conditions inside that facility, which mostly houses presumed innocent pretrial defendants, She is also inhumanedue to overcrowding, frequent loss of heating and poor sanitary conditions in general.

At Monday’s hearing, tensions between Bankman-Fried’s attorneys and prosecutors in the Bahamas government began to boil over.

Attorney Bankman Fried, Jeroen Roberts, told the court that he was not advised to speak with his client.

“Things are moving ahead prematurely and without any input from me,” said Roberts.

Prosecutors in the Bahamas have accused Roberts of using “blunt tactics”.

Finally, the judge hearing the case, Shaka Servell, cleared the courtroom so that Bankman-Fried could speak with his attorney privately.

Bankman-Fried, a 30-year-old former cryptocurrency celebrity, was arrested a week ago at his luxury home in the Bahamas. Federal prosecutors in New York charged him with eight counts of fraud and conspiracy, alleging that he defrauded clients and investors of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange he founded in 2019.

In a series of media interviews since FTX filed for bankruptcy last month, Bankman-Fried has admitted to making management errors while denying that it knowingly defrauded clients or investors.

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