FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by Bahamian authorities Monday evening after the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York shared a sealed indictment with the Bahamian government.
This move sets the stage for extradition and U.S. trial for the onetime crypto billionaire at the heart of the crypto exchange’s collapse.
Bankman-Fried was expected to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.
His arrest is the first move by regulators to hold individuals accountable for the multi-billion dollar implosion of FTX last month.
Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said on Twitter that the federal government anticipated moving to “unseal the indictment in the morning.”
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Bahamas Attorney General Ryan Pinder said that the United States was “likely to request his extradition.”
In a statement, Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis said, “The Bahamas and the United States have a shared interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and broken the law.”
“While the United States is pursuing criminal charges against SBF individually, The Bahamas will continue its own regulatory and criminal investigations into the collapse of FTX, with the continued cooperation of its law enforcement and regulatory partners in the United States and elsewhere,” continued the statement.
CNBC anchor and financial journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin opened an interview with Sam Bankman-Fried by reading him a letter from an alleged investor who asked the former crypto billionaire why he stole the investor’s life savings.
“The subject line [of the letter] is ‘Sam Bankman-Fried stole $2 million dollars from me,’” Sorkin said, according to the New York Times.
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“It says, ‘Andrew, could you please ask SBF why he decided to steal my life savings and $10 billion more from customers to give to his hedge fund Alameda?… please ask him if he thinks what happened was fraud.’ These are the kind of letters that I’ve been getting repeatedly over the past several days. What do you tell this man?”
“Yeah, um, I mean, I’m deeply sorry about what happened,” Bankman-Fried said, shaking his head.
A liquidity crunch at FTX, followed by allegations that Bankman-Fried was responsible for loaning $10 billion of FTX clients’ funds to Alameda, led to the Bankman-Fried’s fortune collapsing in a matter of days and FTX going bankrupt.
Customers are still uncertain if they will be able to get their money back, according to the Wall Street Journal.