Sam Bankman-Fried appeared to nod asleep in a Bahamas courtroom during a Monday hearing in which he agreed to be extradited to the United States despite the recommendation of his attorney.
Bankman-Fried, who is accused of defrauding FTX customers out of $8 billion, was allegedly spotted ‘leaning back with his eyes closed’ before court personnel roused him.
The 30-year-old man who wore a dark blue jacket and untucked shirt to the court hearing appeared to have been affected by the case’s pressure.
A person acquainted with the situation stated on Monday that Bankman-Fried agreed to be extradited to the United States to face fraud charges, barely hours after the FTX founder’s attorney informed a Bahamas judge he was not prepared to consent.
Disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried (pictured) appeared to nod asleep during a Monday court hearing in the Bahamas.
At the court hearing, the 30-year-old donned a dark blue blazer and an untucked shirt, suggesting that the case had taken its toll.
The reversal allows the 30-year-old cryptocurrency tycoon to face charges in New York over allegations that he stole billions from FTX clients to cover losses at his hedge fund, Alameda Research, before the exchange abruptly crashed in November.
It was unclear when Bankman-Fried would leave the Bahamas, where he was arrested on December 12 in response to an extradition request from the United States. At the completion of Monday’s hearing, no further court date was announced.
Mark Cohen, his defense attorney located in the United States, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office did not reply quickly to calls for comment.
Bankman-surprising Fried’s decision after a stormy hearing before Magistrate Shaka Serville in a court in Nassau on Monday morning, following allegations by Reuters and other media agencies that he had decided to alter his decision to contest extradition over the weekend.
Jerone Roberts, his local criminal defense attorney, first told Serville during the hearing that he did not know why Bankman-Fried had been brought to court on Monday morning.
Following a recess, the attorney stated that Bankman-Fried had read an affidavit outlining the charges against him, but before consenting to extradition, he wanted to examine the indictment filed against him last week in federal court in New York.
During the hearing, Serville stated that he could not proceed on Bankman-extradition Fried’s without the former billionaire’s permission.
Sam Bankman-Fried, the creator of FTX, was warned against agreeing to extradition to the United States. Jerone Roberts (left), a local defense attorney, was approached by a media outside of court.
The Magistrate Court building where the FTX founder appeared for an extradition hearing is surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire.
Roberts (left), a local defense counsel representing FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried, was followed by journalists as he exited the Magistrate Court in Nassau, Bahamas.
Serville stated, “I can only be moved by Mr. Bankman-Fried, and he has not moved me.”
Bankman-Fried was permitted to talk with his U.S. attorney over the phone before being returned to the Fox Hill prison in the Caribbean nation. A Reuters witness stated that he left the courthouse in a black van labelled ‘Corrections’ while carrying a manila folder holding paperwork.
Franklyn Williams, the deputy director of legal affairs for the Bahamas, who represents the United States in its effort to extradite Bankman-Fried, referred to the day’s proceedings as “extraordinary” and appeared upset by the delay.
The 30-year-old crypto tycoon rode a surge in the value of bitcoin and other digital assets to become a multibillionaire and important political donor in the United States, until FTX collapsed in early November following a rush of withdrawals. The exchange filed for bankruptcy protection on November 11.
Bankman-Fried has admitted risk management failings at FTX but stated that he is not criminally liable.
DailyMail.com discovered Bankman-Fried on the balcony of a $30 million Bahamas penthouse. Later, he stated that he did not reside there but remained in the Bahamas.
During the Monday hearing, he merely spoke to greet Serville and clarify that he would speak with his U.S. attorney.
A day following his detention, on December 13, Bankman-Fried was sent to a jail facility in the Bahamas. According to a 2021 report by the U.S. State Department, detainees experienced mice and a lack of toilets at the facility. However, according to local authorities, things have since improved.
At his December 13 hearing, he described his arrest night as “chaotic.”
Roberts, his criminal defense attorney in the Bahamas, told the New York Times that his client had agreed to be extradited willingly and that he believed Bankman-Fried would return to court later this week.
Roberts was cited as adding, “As counsel, we will draft the required paperwork to activate the court,” according to the news source. The motivation for Mr. Bankman-decision Fried’s is his desire to make amends with his consumers.
Roberts could not be reached immediately for comment.
Krystal Rolle, a lawyer who has represented Bankman-Fried in non-criminal situations in the Bahamas, verified Roberts’ earlier statements to Eyewitness News Bahamas that Bankman-Fried would renounce his right to an extradition hearing voluntarily.
The cryptocurrency CEO whose faltering FTX prompted market panic: a hoodie-wearing vegan previously worth “$25BILLION” who sleeps four hours each night.
Sam Bankman-Fried, a vegan who sleeps four hours a night, had become a prominent face of crypto currency with an estimated personal worth of nearly $25 billion, which Forbes magazine reports has subsequently decreased to $100,000.
The popularity of FTX enabled the platform to create renowned relationships, including those with American football icon Tom Brady and former supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and also featured comedian Larry David in a Super Bowl television commercial.
Bankman-Fried, who almost always wears a hoodie and a black T-shirt, has committed to contribute nearly his entire fortune to his favorite causes, such as animal welfare and the battle against global warming.
Before turning to cryptocurrencies in 2017, he worked as a Wall Street broker. He is the son of Stanford Law School professors and a graduate of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
According to Bankman-Fried, the Bahamas is ‘one of the few countries with a full licensing regime for cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency exchanges.’ As a result, the company was relocated to the Caribbean nation, where taxes are nearly nonexistent.
He has been an outspoken champion for easier public access to the cryptocurrency market, notably in the United States