FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by Bahamian authorities Monday night after the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York shared an indictment with the Bahamian government, setting the stage for the extradition and US trial of the former crypto-billionaire, who was a central figure during crypto exchange crash, reports CNBC. His arrest is the first concrete step by regulators to prosecute those responsible for last month’s multi-billion dollar FTX crash.
Bahamas Attorney General Ryan Pinder said the United States “will likely seek his extradition.” The Royal Bahamas Police Force confirmed Bankman-Fried’s arrest and said he will appear in the Nassau Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
In a statement, Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis said: “The Bahamas and the United States have a common interest in holding accountable all individuals associated with FTX who may have betrayed the public trust and violated the law.”
In November, FTX and its affiliates filed for bankruptcy, and Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO. It was later revealed that the funds of FTX clients were commingled with the assets of Alameda Research, which used them for margin trading, resulting in huge losses.
Legal experts told CNBC that Bankman-Fried could face up to life in prison without parole if the federal government charges him with bank fraud. Such a severe punishment would be unusual, but not extraordinary. Financial pyramid schemer Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, for his massive financial pyramid scheme.