Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder and former CEO of collapsed crypto exchange FTX, was arrested in the Bahamas on Monday, the Bahamas Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.
The arrest came after the office was informed by the United States that it had filed criminal charges against Bankman-Fried and would likely seek extradition, the office said. Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, confirmed the arrest and said an indictment would likely be announced Tuesday, though the charges weren’t immediately clear.
“Earlier tonight, Bahamian authorities arrested Samuel Bankman-Fried at the request of the U.S. government, based on a sealed indictment filed by SDNY,” Williams said. wrote in a tweet Monday afternoon. “We expect to unseal the indictment in the morning and we will have more to say then.”
Bankman-Fried, better known as SBF, resigned as CEO of FTX in November after the beleaguered cryptocurrency platform filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The Bahamas-based exchange had been one of the biggest cryptocurrency players, and Bankman-Fried was renowned for lobbying politicians on both sides of the aisle, but its collapse raised doubts about the crypto -change and left customers wondering if they ever would. get their money back.
Revelations about the holdings and close relationship between FTX and Alameda Research – more than a third of assets on Alameda’s balance sheet were FTT tokens issued by FTX – sparked a series of cascading events last month that led Alameda to cease operations and FTX to file for bankruptcy protection. Billions in investor funds seemingly disappeared overnight.
“I was the CEO of FTX. That means I was in charge,” Bankman-FriedNovember 30. Bankman-Fried noted that he “wouldn’t be surprised if I’m up there sometimes talking about what happened to our reps.”
The US Department of Justice and other agencies are investigating allegations of fraud and mismanagement of funds by FTX. Bankman-Fried denied committing fraud or deliberately misusing customers’ money.
The former face of crypto was invited by U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, to testify at a hearing on the FTX debacle scheduled for December 13. Bankman-Fried replied that he was ready to testify but needed time to prepare.
Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, said that while the United States was pursuing criminal charges against SBF, the island nation where the exchange was based was also conducting its own criminal and regulatory investigations into the collapse of FTX.
It was not immediately clear whether Bankman-Fried had hired an attorney to represent him in the case.