Sam Bankman-Fried signs documents paving the way for US extradition

Sam Bankman-Fried has signed documents to pave the way for his extradition to the US, where he faces fraud charges over the collapse of his cryptocurrency exchange FTX, ahead of another scheduled court appearance on Wednesday in the Bahamas.

Bankman-Fried’s signed the papers in Nassau on Tuesday, said a person familiar with the matter. He is due to appear in Bahamas magistrates’ court on Wednesday morning. His lawyers told Reuters he would agree to extradition, paving the way for a swift departure from the Caribbean nation.

Bankman-Fried was arrested last week in Nassau, where he lives, after the US Department of Justice filed charges against him, accusing the one-time crypto tycoon of orchestrating “one of the biggest financial frauds in American history”.

US authorities allege FTX funnelled customer money to Bankman-Fried’s private trading firm Alameda Research, where it was spent on risky investments, political donations and luxury purchases such as real estate.

Bankman-Fried has denied wrongdoing.

The latest step towards extradition followed a confused day of proceedings on Monday when Bankman-Fried was taken to the courthouse amid expectations he would consent to be extradited.

The process was delayed when his local lawyer said he was unaware of the reason for the hearing. Bankman-Fried, 30, was sent back to prison in Nassau later on Monday without having agreed to be returned to his home country.

The former billionaire was denied bail in the Bahamas last week after a judge deemed him a flight risk and has since been held at the country’s Fox Hill Prison, which is notorious for its harsh conditions. After arriving in the US, Bankman-Fried will have a fresh opportunity to request bail.

Harry Sandick, a partner at law firm Patterson Belknap specialising in white collar defence, said Bankman-Fried would likely be “moved quickly to the United States if he consents”.

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