Sam Bankman-Fried – founder of the collapsed FTX exchange – has been arrested at his home in the Bahamas.
It is understood he will face Magistrates in Nassau on Tuesday to be charged with ‘financial crimes’ ahead of potential extradition to the US.
According to a press statement from the ‘Office of the Attorney General & Ministry of legal Affairs of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas’ distributed on Twitter this evening, the 31-year-old former CEO has been taken into custody.
“On 12 December 2022, the Office of the Attorney General of The Bahamas is announcing the arrest by The Royal Bahamas Police Force of Sam Bankman-Fried (“SBF”), former CEO of FTX. SBF’s arrest followed receipt of formal notification from the United States that it has filed criminal charges against SBF and is likely to request his extradition,” the statement read.
“As a result of the notification received and the material provided therewith, it was deemed appropriate for the Attorney General to seek SBF’s arrest and hold him in custody pursuant to our nation’s Extradition Act.
“At such time as a formal request for extradition is made, The Bahamas intends to process it promptly, pursuant to Bahamian law and its treaty obligations with the United States.”
Further reports saw the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Philip Davis, responding to the move by saying: “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.”
The three-year-old crypto exchange disintegrated in matter of days last month. Trouble began when Binance chief Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao engaged in a Twitter spat with the FTX CEO over regulation.
Zhao soon ordered the liquidation of almost $600 million of FTX tokens before sensationally agreeing to buy FTX, subject to due diligence processes. By this point, rumours of insolvency surrounding SBF’s trading company Alameda Research were rife.
Within 24 hours the offer was off the table after CZ suddenly pulled out of the deal to buy up the beleaguered exchange.
The fallout from what has now become an epic financial scandal has hit many businesses and affected millions of people. Some 134 entities were listed in a file for bankruptcy submitted by FTX last month – a file made as Sam Bankman-Fried resigned his position as CEO. The Californian resigned barely a day after issuing a gushing and rambling apology as he pledged to fix the unfolding carnage.