Sam Bankman-Fried was taken to a magistrate’s court in Nassau on Monday where he is expected to agree to be extradited to the US to face charges of fraud after being arrested in the Bahamas last week.
The former billionaire founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange had been resisting extradition to New York following his indictment in Manhattan on US federal fraud and money laundering charges. But a person familiar with the matter said he was expected to drop his fight.
Bankman-Fried arrived at the Nassau courthouse just after 10am local time, pulling up in a black police van under heavy guard from the jail where he was being held. The charges brought against him last week in the Southern District of New York allege he orchestrated “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history”.
He has denied wrongdoing.
A court in the Bahamas last week denied Bankman-Fried bail, saying there was a risk he would try to flee. The 30-year-old has since been held at Fox Hill Prison in Nassau. The facility has been criticized in international reports for overcrowding and lack of sanitation. Bankman-Fried will appear on Monday in front of Magistrate Shaka Serville, local television reporter.
Bankman-Fried also faces civil charges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which allege he misled investors and funneled customer money entrusted to the FTX exchange to his private trading company Alameda Research.
If convicted, Bankman-Fried could face a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison, according to legal experts.
FTX, once valued at $32bn by blue-chip investors including Sequoia Capital and BlackRock, collapsed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware in November after being unable to meet a wave of client demands to withdraw their funds. The company may have more than 1mn creditors, according to bankruptcy filings.
Bankman-Fried had lived in Nassau, in a $30mn penthouse at the luxury Albany complex, since FTX relocated to the Bahamas from Hong Kong late last year after the Caribbean nation set out a bespoke regulatory regime for digital assets.