Sam Bankman-Fried will now reverse his decision to fight extradition to the U.S.: Report

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Sam Bankman-Fried could soon be headed for a U.S. prison to face fraud charges. The former CEO of FTX—the cryptocurrency exchange that went abruptly bankrupt last month—is currently being held in a jail in the Bahamas.

Bahamian authorities arrested him on Monday following a formal notification by the U.S. government that it had filed criminal charges against him and would likely request his extradition. The U.S. and the Bahamas have had an extradition process in place since 1994, when a treaty signed by both countries came into force.

On Tuesday, a Bahamian judge denied him bail, deeming him a flight risk. During the arraignment proceedings, Bankman-Fried’s lawyer said he would fight plans to send him to the U.S., and an extradition hearing was set for Feb. 8.

But now Bankman-Fried is expected to appear in a Bahamian court on Monday to reverse his decision to contest extradition, Reuters reported.

Federal prosecutors in New York have charged Bankman-Fried with eight criminal counts, including conspiracy and wire fraud, for allegedly misusing billions of dollars in customers’ funds. He faces up to 115 years in prison if convicted on all eight counts.

‘Open and shut case for fraud’

Last month, billionaire Mark Cuban said he’d “be afraid of going to jail for a long time” if he were Bankman-Fried.

And earlier this month, Brain Armstrong, CEO of the U.S.-based crypto exchange Coinbase, said it was “baffling” why Bankman-Fried wasn’t already in prison.

“The DOJ or somebody should be able to make—just based on his public statements, I think there’s a very open and shut case for fraud,” Armstrong said at the a16z crypto Founder Summit.

FTX’s implosion last month surprised many inside and outside of the crypto sector. The $32 billion exchange had established itself as a leader in the field, having enlisted star athletes like Tom Brady and other celebrities to bolster its image. 

Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO on Nov. 11, the same day that FTX filed for bankruptcy. A key accusation leveled against him is that he used customer funds from his crypto exchange to fund risky bets at Alameda Research, his misleadingly named crypto hedge fund.

FTX is based in the Bahamas, where Bankman-Fried reportedly enjoyed a luxurious penthouse lifestyle

He’s now being held at Fox Hill prison in the Bahamas, according to Reuters, a jail described as “harsh” by the U.S. State Department last year, with overcrowding and a rodent infestation at the time.

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