BAHAMAS, Nassau (AP) — A federal prosecutor stated on Wednesday, as Sam Bankman-Fried was returning to the United States from the Bahamas, that two of Bankman-partners Fried’s had pleaded guilty to criminal charges linked to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX in cooperation arrangements.
In a plea agreement that might lead to their testifying against the FTX co-founder, two of Sam Bankman-closest Fried’s allies have pled guilty to a variety of criminal offences. If found guilty, the 30-year-old might spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Former CEO of Bankman-trading Fried’s firm Alameda Research Carolyn Ellison and Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX with Bankman-Fried, pleaded guilty to charges “related to their roles in the fraud that contributed to FTX’s collapse,” US Attorney Damian Williams said in a video statement posted to social media on Wednesday night.
According to Williams, “they are both collaborating with the Southern District of New York,” and he encouraged anybody else involved in the scheme to contact his office as well since “our patience is not endless.”
U.S. law enforcement officials revealed the guilty pleas as they were preparing to extradite Bankman-Fried from the Bahamas to the United States to face charges related to his participation in the collapse of FTX. On Thursday, he was scheduled to make an appearance in federal court in Manhattan.
Ellison and Wang signed plea bargains with prosecutors on December 19 in which they admitted to committing fraud on a variety of fronts, including wire fraud, securities fraud, and commodities fraud, in exchange for the promise of reduced sentences in exchange for their full cooperation with investigators.
For a “sweeping fraud scheme that led to FTX’s bankruptcy and for a campaign financing scam that aimed to influence public policy in Washington,” Williams said the guilty pleas and the relocation of Bankman-Fried to New York were related.
Bankman-Fried had agreed to be extradited to the United States and was on his way there at the time of the sentence.
Bankman-Fried was seen by reporters on the scene leaving the Nassau Magistrate Court in a black SUV earlier on Wednesday.
Bahamian Attorney General Ryan Pinder said in a statement that the provisional arrest and subsequent written consent by Bankman-Fried to be extradited without formal extradition proceedings satisfies the requirements of the (extradition treaty between the US and the Bahamas) and our nation’s Extradition Act.
Last Monday, at the request of the United States government, Bahamian officials detained Bankman-Fried. US prosecutors claim he was instrumental in the company’s quick demise and covered up FTX’s issues from the public and investors. The SEC claimed that Bankman-Fried had made personal and family real estate purchases with investor funds.
The 30-year-old man faces life in prison if convicted
A Bahamian court concluded on Friday that Bankman-Fried was too much of a flight risk to grant him bail. Human rights campaigners have complained about the conditions in the Bahamas’ Fox Hill jail, where the former CEO of FTX, which was once valued tens of billions of dollars on paper, was being kept.
Back in the United States, Bankman-lawyer Fried’s may seek bail for his client’s release from jail.
In terms of paper riches, Bankman-Fried was among the world’s elite. His fortune was reported to be $32 billion. He was a well-known figure in the nation’s capital due to the millions he gave to progressive organisations and Democratic candidates. The FTX cryptocurrency exchange has expanded to become the world’s second-largest.
He claims he did not “knowingly” mishandle consumers’ money and is certain that the millions of upset customers will be reimbursed.
New FTX CEO John Ray III, who is responsible for guiding the business through bankruptcy, flatly refuted such claims at a congressional hearing last week: “We will never get all these assets back.”
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